The 80/10/10 Diet



The 80/10/10 Diet
Praise for The 80/10/10 Diet
“Dr. Graham is wise, insightful, and a leading-edge thinker. Read, savor, and use his
brilliance, and I hope it serves you as well as it has me.”
—Mark Victor Hansen, coauthor of the
Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books
“For people who want to create balance in their lives and reach and sustain the level
of health they deserve, I highly recommend this book.”
—Kimberly Mac, The “Naked” Vegan,
radio talk show host and live-food chef
“Dr. Graham’s 80/10/10 diet has literally saved my life! By putting his advice into
practice, I have recovered from serious illness and attained a level of health I never
dreamed possible. If you desire the tools necessary to create a permanent and lifechanging level of health, look no further than this book!”
—Jeremiah Neese, Santa Barbara, CA
“When I stick with Dr. Graham’s 80/10/10 diet program, I am full of energy and
vitality. I am able to live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment. As an added bonus,
I start to lose extra weight and I feel healthy. I don’t want for anything when I can eat all
the strawberries and watermelon that I desire.”
—Rachel Johnson, author of Wake Up Running!
“I have been following Dr. Graham’s 80/10/10 diet and lifestyle for seven years,
and it is the best thing I have ever done. His program has allowed me to fine tune my
eating habits so that I’m functioning at my best. For me, the benefits of this lifestyle
include high energy, disappearance of all ailments, cessation of depression, more
patience, a reverence for life, and much more.”
—Gary Orlando, author of Beyond Raw eBook
“I am so grateful to Dr. D. for introducing me to the 80/10/10 diet! I just started
working out for the first time in many years, and I am having the most amazing results!
My energy is skyrocketing, and I am feeling better than I’ve felt in my entire life.”
—Kira Donnellan, Hartford, Connecticut
“The 80/10/10 diet as explained and advocated by Dr. Graham in his book, is in my
opinion, the greatest breakthrough ever made in the field of nutrition. Read it, study it,
and apply it as if your life depended on it—because it does.”
—Frederic Patenaude, author of The Raw Secrets
“With Doug Graham’s 80/10/10 program, I have begun to experience levels of
health I never dreamed of. My energy is soaring, my endurance has increased
considerably, and my regularity is better than it’s been at any point in my life. Another
added perk is enjoying my food and each subtle nuance of taste, texture and feel so much
more than I ever have! I say this with 100% enthusiasm: You are just right on, Doug!”
—Courtney Whitworth, Pahoa, Hawaii
“Armed with data drawn from the latest scientific research, Dr. Graham
convincingly makes the case that humans are essentially frugivorous and that we should
all be living on a fruit-based diet. T h e 80/10/10 Diet is a courageous, thoroughly
researched work. In a field that is beset by hucksters and charlatans, this new book
establishes Dr. Graham as the undisputed voice of authority and wisdom.”
—Rynn Berry, author of Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism and the World’s
Religions and historical advisor to the North American Vegetarian Society
“I struggled with weight control and high serum lipids for years. Dr. Graham’s
80/10/10 diet has helped me reduce weight, fat, and serum lipids to desired levels. I am
running faster and feeling better at age 52 than I did years ago. It feels so good to be in
control, and I enjoy every bite of the food!”
—Brad Forgy, MS, RN
“Following Dr. Graham’s 80/10/10 diet program has given me the energy, beauty,
and strength that I have been looking for all of my 54 years, along with the joy of eating
foods that appeal to all of my senses. I’m able to run now instead of just walk, something
I never thought I’d be able to do. People tell me I look like a teenager. I know I’m
treating my body and mind in the best way, while doing the same for our precious Earth.
I am blessed to have found this way of eating, and I wish the same for others.”
—Amy Harwood, Sonoma, California
The 80/10/10™ Diet
Balancing Your Health,
Your Weight, and Your Life
One Luscious Bite at a Time
Dr. Douglas N. Graham
The 80/10/10 Diet
Copyright 2006, 2008, 2010 Douglas N. Graham, DC
The author will assert his intellectual property rights to the fullest extent of the law.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information
storage and retrieval system without written permission from the author, except for the
inclusion of brief quotations for review or reference purposes. Inquiries regarding
requests to reprint all or part of this book may be sent to: [email protected]
80/10/10, 80/10/10rv, 811, and 811rv are trademarks of Douglas N. Graham.
Published by:
FoodnSport Press
609 N. Jade Drive
Key Largo, FL 33037 U.S.A.
Printed in the United States of America
Cover design, photography, and book design, lenspeace
10 9 8 7 6 5
4 3 2 1
Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication
(Provided by Quality Books, Inc.)
Graham, Douglas N.
The 80/10/10 diet : balancing your health, your weight, and
your life one luscious bite at a time / by Douglas N. Graham;
foreword by Ruth Heidrich.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN-13: 978-1-893831-99-5
ISBN-10: 1-893831-99-5
1. High-carbohydrate diet. 2. Lowfat diet. 3. Raw foods.
4. Nutrition. I. Title. II. Title: Eighty ten ten diet. III. Title: Balancing
your health, your weight, and your life one luscious bite at a time.
RM237.59.G73 2006
Trademark Statement
Since my graduation from chiropractic college in 1983, I have performed
considerable research and have lectured extensively on the subjects of health, diet, and
athletics to tens of thousands of people in the United States and around the world. The
essence of my life’s work has been summed up in the related phrases 80/10/10 and
80/10/10rv, and their corresponding shorthand 811 and 811rv. While 80/10/10 originally
referred to a nutritional ratio, followers of my work know that it has come to mean much
more. Over the decades, I have strived to imbue the 80/10/10 concept with the additional
meanings of adequate sleep, exercise, positive outlook on life, and many other healthpromoting factors. As a result, I am formally asserting trademark rights to 80/10/10,
80/10/10rv, 811, and 811rv in order to maintain the high standards they have come to
represent in the public mind and to protect the public’s association of these concepts
with me and my work. I hope everyone in the health/nutrition field will honor and
respect these marks, using them only when licensed or authorized or, if without specific
authorization, with proper acknowledgment and notice in accordance with law and
The information contained in e is provided for your general information only. It is
not intended as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your
doctor. Dr. Douglas Graham does not give medical advice or engage in the practice of
medicine. Under no circumstances does Dr. Graham recommend particular treatment for
specific individuals, and he recommends in all cases that you consult your physician or a
qualified practitioner before pursuing any course of treatment or making any changes to
your diet or medications.
— Douglas N. Graham, DC.
With fondest respect,
I dedicate this book to my friend and mentor,
the late T.C. Fry.
When I gave the eulogy at Terry’s memorial service, I promised that his memory
would live on. My life, and this book, are testaments to that intention. May his work
continue to influence people for the better until living healthfully becomes a normal and
natural part of every person’s life.
Also by Douglas N. Graham
Grain Damage
Nutrition and Athletic Performance
Perpetual Health Calendar
The High Energy Diet Recipe Guide
As an Ironman triathlete, ultramarathoner, and holder of nearly 1,000 race first
places, I know how important the right diet is. It dismays me to see how much dietary
misinformation is being spread with the main goal being to make money. Because so
many people are misinformed about the proper diet, obesity is at the highest rates in
history, and as more people buy into these money-making schemes, obesity and its
associated diseases are going to continue to increase at horrendous rates.
Over and over again, I hear people saying they’ve tried “everything” to lose weight
—low fat, high fat, low carb, high carb, low protein, high protein, all kinds of pills,
shots, powders, and shakes—you name it and they say they’ve tried it. The main cause of
their failure is misinformation.
There are reasons for each of these dietary failures. What they were told was “low
fat,” usually 30%, actually is not low fat at all, and they have no idea how to get to an
effective low-fat 10% as described in this book. High-fat diets can be dangerous and put
you at risk for the diseases that most Westerners die from prematurely. Low-carb diets
are also dangerous, and most people have no idea that the ideal diet consists of 80%
carbs. But, it must be the right carbs.
High-protein diets lead to osteoporosis, kidney disease, and lack of energy for
exercise. Most people think that low-protein diets will never work, having been
convinced by the meat and dairy industries that the more protein you eat, the better—and
nothing could be further from the truth.
As for pills, shots, powders, and shakes, these gimmicks will never give people the
health they really seek. What they don’t realize is that obesity is actually a symptom of
eating the wrong diet. The same is true of most of the other diseases we suffer from, for
example, heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, colitis, constipation,
osteoporosis, acne, erectile dysfunction, dementia, and even vision and hearing
problems. These are all symptoms of the diseases of consuming the wrong diet.
You are holding in your hands the book that will give you the dietary information
we all need to have. You don’t have to be an Ironman triathlete or even want to be one,
but you owe it to yourself to read The 80/10/10 Diet!
Ruth E. Heidrich, PhD
Author, A Race For Life
This was not an easy book to write. I tried to create The 80/10/10 Diet on several
occasions in the past, but it has proven to be a daunting project riddled with false starts.
For some reason, nothing about this particular piece of work has been easy. I can only
assume that it must be like the old saying, “nothing worthwhile is ever easy.” I believe
that this is the most worthwhile book that I have written to date.
In writing The 80/10/10 Diet, I found myself constantly enmeshed in a deep inner
debate, wondering how to most effectively reach the largest number of people:
Will I reach more people through appeals to their heads or their hearts? Will
quoting numbers, current research, scientific studies, and textbook facts bolster
their willingness to make dietary changes?
Will such minutiae cause readers to lose interest, or can each bit of data build upon
the previous ones until it forms a convincing and solid information base?
How deep need I go in order to get my point across? Will it suffice to say that all
the animals built like us eat fruits and vegetables and very little fat, therefore we
should too?
Will stories and testimonials about high levels of health, boundless energy,
unexpected healing, effortless weight loss, spiritual awakening, and newfound
enthusiasm for life be viewed as hyperbole or truthful inspiration?
And perhaps most worrisome …
If I leave something out, will I get a second chance?
The research for this book often left me studying for several days in order to write
just one or two sentences. The more I learned, the more there was to learn, it seemed. I
eventually had to choose between writing a book and becoming a full-time reader of
other people’s work.
I gathered a tremendous amount of information, but a great deal of what I learned
proved simply not to be relevant to the creation of this book. I can only hope it will be
valuable material for future works.
Who Should Read This Book?
I wrote this book for anyone who believes that appropriate body weight and vibrant
well-being are their birthright as well as their responsibility—anyone willing to keep
striving for the physique and the health they desire.
The 80/10/10 plan is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It allows you to work toward
a goal, rather than simply follow a diet. You do not have to eat primarily vegetarian or
raw foods to benefit from the 80/10/10 program.
If you eat a relatively typical American diet, 80/10/10 is a program that allows you
to continue eating the foods you are used to, while beginning to introduce the new foods
that will lead you toward your goal. Direction, not speed, is the most important aspect of
learning to succeed with 80/10/10.
If you have already transitioned your diet to vegetarian, vegan, or raw foods, you
will still find the principles in this book to be a step forward for you. In fact, this book
represents the brass ring for raw fooders. I feel ecstatic that I finally have succeeded in
writing about the program I have taught for years in the raw and vegetarian
Discouraged by their inability to succeed on raw food and confused by the opposing
information they hear from other teachers, raw food enthusiasts have pleaded with me: “I
bet I a m eating high-fat raw, but I don’t know how to figure it out, and I need more
information on what to do about it.”
Now, with the sample calculations in hand, I stand before the raw food community
with clear evidence of the dangerously high fat consumption common in our ranks—and
with a clearly articulated plan for those who wish to raise the bar a notch and reach for
the ultimate low-fat plan for raw health.
The Results Speak for Themselves
The principles I share in this book represent more than twenty-five years of research
and almost two decades of assisting people with their health, nutrition, and athletic
performance in private consultation. During that time, I have used the 80/10/10 program
myself—and with thousands of clients who are consistently delighted with their
newfound health, vigor, and physical appearance.
I have seen the sickest of the sick regain high levels of health and vitality, simply
by making intelligent food and lifestyle modifications. I have watched people
pronounced “terminally ill” by the medical establishment heal themselves using the
program described in this book. I have watched former world-class athletes rejuvenate
themselves to the degree that they are once again achieving “personal best”
performances. Truly, 80/10/10 is not only a “diet” but a success formula. And it just
keeps getting better.
In Appendix C, I have compiled a collection of testimonials from healthy, happy,
and successful practitioners of the 80/10/10 way of life. Their inspiring stories speak for
Wherever you are on your journey to ever-greater well-being, I hope that you enjoy
reading The 80/10/10 Diet and find it valuable, insightful, and motivating. It is my
sincerest belief that you will find within these pages the nutritional guidance you need to
attain, regain, and maintain the radiant, trim body of your dreams and an even a higher
level of health than you have ever dared to strive for.
Let All Find Their Own Path
While in my experience, consuming a 100% raw version of the 80/10/10 diet is
optimal, other low(er)-fat plant-centered diet programs also offer substantial health
benefits … and many people find them to be the right choice for their lives. If you find
yourself judging others for not choosing all raw, all low-fat, or even all vegan foods, I
implore you to take a BIG step backward and recognize that all of us must make our own
choices, and no one path is best for all people.
I have been saddened and dismayed by the number of people who tell me that an
enthusiastic 80/10/10 supporter has stopped talking to his or her family, or has taken on a
holier-than-thou fundamentalist attitude with friends who do not “see the light.”
Friends, if you stop connecting with your loved ones over the food you eat, you have
missed the point! Healthful living includes healthy relationships and compassion for
your fellow humans. If you wish to contribute to your loved ones, accept them where
they are, and then lead by example, with an open heart … you will have far greater
success if you do.
A Tribute to T.C. Fry
The late T.C. Fry (1926–1996), a world-renowned and much-loved health educator,
was a mentor for me. He helped me sort the trash from the treasures in the world of
health and nutrition. He never told me what to think, but he often instructed me in how to
think … to refine the process of thinking so that I could come up with truth for myself.
He loved to pursue a line of thought through to its logical and often only valid
T.C. (he told me on several occasions that T. was his full name, but that his friends
often called him Terry) and I lectured in hundreds of cities together, giving weekend
seminars throughout much of the 1980s and into the early ’90s. We sold no products, just
education. The topics were almost always different, but always about some aspect of
I once asked Terry why we didn’t simply come up with a format of lecture topics
that we could stick to, one we could take to all the different cities on our tour.
“I am training you,” he said, proffering his irresistible smile.
I like to think he did a good job.
Terry was not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. He openly admitted his
flaws. He had minimal formal education. At the age of 45, with his health failing terribly
due to an intensely abusive lifestyle characterized by its excessiveness, he turned his life
around. The doctors had already told him that he didn’t have much longer to live. A
change in diet coupled with attention to many of the other necessities of healthful living
gave Terry another twenty-five years.
In the end, his intensity got the better of him. He simply worked himself to death in
an effort to spread the health message to as many people as possible. His work was not in
vain. His students have had a profound effect upon the current health movement, and are
continuing to do so. Most notable is the work of Harvey and Marilyn Diamond with their
groundbreaking book, Fit for Life. Many of Terry’s other students have authored books. I
am proud to be among them.
When he was alive, Terry often visited my home. On more than one visit he had
proclaimed that his writing was for the public, that he wanted it to go to good use. He
generously made the offer that I should reprint his writing wherever I saw fit.
This is one of those occasions. I have incorporated several short pieces of Terry’s
writing into The 80/10/10 Diet. His comparative anatomy assessment of the natural diet
for humans, which I have included in a somewhat revised form as Chapter 1, is the
longest of them.
I wish to offer my gratitude to the many people who made this book possible. It is
not possible to name them all, as so many folks played an important part in its creation.
First, my special thanks go to the following people, each of whom worked with me
and helped me to clarify my thoughts on the subject matter in this book: Gail Davis,
Dave Klein, Ken Lyle, Laurie Masters, Tim Trader, Laurie Clifford, Robert Sniadach,
Bruce Brazis, David Rodenbucher, Catherine Galipeau, and John Pierre.
Contributions came in many forms, from information to editing, from research to
relief. Some of you provided me with the necessary sounding board that I needed, others
asked the questions that brought clarity to some aspect of this project or another. Some
folks provided help simply by sharing the details of their program with me, including the
problems and solutions they had discovered along the way. I wish all of you could know
how important your influence really was.
For their behind-the-scenes contributions, I would like to especially thank Dennis
Nelson, David Taylor, Justin Lelia, Josh Steinhauser, Tom Cushwa, Gideon and Jackie
Graff, Nancy Parlette, Todd Ewen, Dr. Deborah Wood, Charlie Mort, Craig Bishop, Coby
Siegenthaler, Suzanne Slusser, and Shari Leiterman.
I wish to thank John Robbins and Michael Greger for giving me their kind
permission to reprint some of their previously published work, and also Antonia Horne
for allowing me the privilege of including excerpts from her late husband Ross Horne’s
Many people simply pushed for me to put this body of work into print, as they
wanted to show it to their dear ones. Each of you contributed in your own special way,
giving something that made it possible for me to get on with my work. For this I thank
you. It means a great deal to me that you would think my work so valuable as to be
willing to take the energy to prod me into writing this book. Those of you who actually
gave up your precious time in order for me to move forward with this project provided
invaluable support.
Many people helped with the creation of the Frequently Asked Questions section,
providing questions and, in many instances, appropriate responses. My appreciation goes
to Randall Phelps, Janie Gardener, and Jack Whitley for their help with editing the
Marr Nealon, your efforts to help me promote this cause were (and continue to be)
stupendous, thank you.
To my niece, Shyella Joy Mayk, thank you for all your fitness motivation, support,
and your endless help with my website. And to Liati Natanya Mayk, her sister, thank you
for keeping me intellectually honest and helping me maintain my perspective through
the relaxation of music.
To Gail Davis, my publicist, thank you for the long nights of proofreading and your
continual input on how to illuminate this book and my business so that they would
evolve into everything I knew they could be.
The hours just kept speeding by while I worked on The 80/10/10 Diet. I often lost
track of time, and sometimes also lost track of commitments, appointments, meals, my
personal needs for physical activity, and even sleep.
Fortunately, I am extremely blessed, in that I have a personal angel in my life who
makes it her full-time job to look after me. I wish to thank my beautiful wife Rozi, for
her selfless and endless attention while I worked on this book. Without her constant help
and support, I would never have been able to have made time for this book. Even if I had
been forced to try, I do not think I would have successfully or healthfully been able to
complete it without her.
Thank you, Rozi, for paying attention to so many of life’s little and big details. I
would have let them slip in pursuit of finishing this task. I can only hope that you feel as
rewarded by me as I do by you, and as supported.
I am forever indebted to my loving parents, Marty and Bea, who have always taught
me how to be a successful adult by their shining example. My wish is that in raising my
own child, Faychesca, I am able to employ the same parenting skills that they have
shown me, with at least a modicum of their competence and grace.
Special Thanks
I would especially like to extend sincere appreciation to my editor, Laurie Masters
of Precision Revision ( and to Carina Honga, whose position
is as varied as all the tasks we have encountered. The time these wonderful women have
devoted to researching, editing, and organizing this book amounts to years. Their
dedication, writing skills, and teamwork have taken this book to a new level.
Laurie, thank you for keeping me honest through your amazing research skills and
for distilling my writing down to what I was actually trying to say. Your signature knack
for “rototilling” a disjointed manuscript and turning it into a coherent book has once
again proven invaluable. I am forever grateful for your steadfast commitment to me and
to this project and for your tenacity in keeping its zillion details on track. Thank you in
particular for your personal contributions to this book (notably Chapter 8 and Appendix
D). I am convinced you are the best editor this side of the universe.
Carina, adding you to our team was one of the best things I have ever done. Thank
you for your tireless efforts to complete any and every thing that was asked of you with
incredible speed and skill.
Americans have been told for more than forty years that we are eating too much fat,
yet our consumption of this nutrient has remained essentially unchanged during that
time.1 We have made no headway in eating less fat, despite massive educational
programs, the carbohydrate-loading craze, leaner meats, low-fat fiber-filled cereals and
bars, and low-fat desserts, dairy products, and entrées.
We Are Fatter (and Sicker) Than Ever
Meanwhile, as a nation, we have become the fattest people on Earth and are still
getting fatter. Two-thirds of all Americans are overweight, half of them obese. Because
obesity is so common, few of us realize that our current view of “normal” body fat levels
has been skewed to allow for several dozen extra pounds. Sadly, morbid obesity is
rapidly moving up in the ranks of “causes of preventable death” statistics in our nation.
Consider the following:
Nearly One-Third of the Calories in the U.S. Diet
Come from Junk Food2
by Sarah Yang, Media Relations | 01 June 2004
U. C. Berkeley News
Gladys Block, professor of epidemiology and public health nutrition at the
University of California, Berkeley, published a study in the June 2004 issue of the
Journal of Food Composition and Analysis.
The study reveals that three food groups—sweets and desserts, soft drinks and
alcoholic beverages—comprise almost 25 percent of all calories consumed by
Americans. Salty snacks and fruit-flavored drinks make up another five percent, bringing
the total energy contributed by nutrient-poor foods to at least 30 percent of the total
calorie intake.
“What is really alarming is the major contribution of ‘empty calories’ in the
American diet,” said Block. “We know people are eating a lot of junk food, but to have
almost one-third of Americans’ calories coming from those categories is a shocker. It’s
no wonder there’s an obesity epidemic in this country.”
The standard American diet (SAD) is a sad testament to the rampant physical and
mental decay of the most prosperous nations on Earth. As our consumption of junk
foods, animal products, chemical additives, toxic pesticides, and genetically modified
organisms have increased, our health has plummeted. The numbers are staggering:
Obesity: In 2000, poor diet including obesity and physical inactivity caused more
than 320,000 U.S. deaths and numbered among the top preventable causes of disease.3
Obesity is the leading cause of all three of our top killers: heart disease, cancer, and
Heart disease: Although the first recorded heart attack is said to have appeared in
British medical literature just over a hundred years ago (1878), more than one in five
Americans now suffers from some form of cardiovascular disease, and more than 2,500
Americans die from it each day. 5 In 2001, just under 700,000 Americans died of heart
Cancer: Just a generation or two ago, cancer was a grandparents’ disease. Today,
we have entire cancer hospitals for children. Some 1.3 million new cancer cases were
expected to be diagnosed and nearly 564,000 cancer deaths were predicted in 2004.7
Diabetes: More than 18 million Americans have diabetes, the sixth most frequent
cause of death in North America. The number of U.S. adults with diagnosed diabetes has
increased 61% since 1991 and is projected to more than double by 2050, afflicting one in
three Americans born in 2000. Today, diabetes claims more than 200,000 lives each
Mixed Messages
It is crazy to think that we can keep doing what we have been doing while expecting
the outcome to be any different than it has been. If we truly want healthy results, we are
going to have to start living more healthfully. But exactly what changes should we
Daily, we encounter an endless barrage of contradictory opinions and opposing
interpretations of practically every aspect of nutritional science. Nutrition is so rife with
conflicting theories that the so-called “hard scientists,” the physicists, mathematicians,
physical chemists, and others, frequently denigrate nutrition as “not a real science.”
Confusion seems to be the only constant in weight management. A new diet craze
comes into vogue almost every week, each one hyped as “the answer” to our waistline
woes. Some advisors tell us to minimize fat, while others assert that eating fat does not
make us fat and in fact brings us greater health. Some vilify carbohydrates, while others
show convincing evidence that whole grains should be our staple. We have to wonder:
Which of these conflicting theories are true? Which are hogwash? Could there be some
middle ground?
Worse yet, if you desire not only a trim physique but also vibrant health, the waters
become even muddier. One self-proclaimed “expert” tells you that minerals are the most
important aspect of nutrition, while another claims that structured water will cure all that
ails you. Hordes of scientists, nutritionists, doctors, “healers,” and lay people fill the
bookstores and crowd the lecture circuit with convincing tales of the indispensable
virtues of vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, enzymes, or some other silver
bullet that is sure to ameliorate all of your health, aging, and weight issues.
All of these parties defend their turf with a vengeance. And understandably so. Most
of them have deep economic ties to their particular nutritional approach, complete with
programs, supplements, superfoods, motivational seminars, prepackaged meals, and a
wide assortment of accessories.
That confusion was not lost on me. Over the years I have tried more diets than most
people have even heard of. This is especially true because I was seeking an optimal plan
for health, athletic performance, and body-weight management—all at the same time. I
got tired of trying one new approach after another, but what else was there to do? I had to
keep looking for something that worked for me, on all levels.
The Science of Health
For me, the fog began to lift in the late 1970s. I remember the sense of thrill and
relief I felt, after years of fumbling around with diets and health fads, to finally alight
upon a diet that works—in all the ways I sought—and the clear and incontrovertible
evidence to back it up. In this book, I share with you some salient bits from the body of
knowledge called “Natural Hygiene” (literally, the science of health), information that
changed my life and allowed me to coach thousands of people to attain the well-being,
vitality, and physique they have always wanted.
The dietary approach I recommend, especially with its emphasis on fresh fruits and
vegetables, may sound radical, particularly in light of the prevailing attitude held by
doctors, supplement vendors, and fad-diet hawkers, who all would have you believe that
the keys to health and fitness most certainly do not grow on trees.
I invite you, however, to withhold judgment, and stick with me as we examine the
natural simplicity of living a high-produce, low-fat lifestyle—truly the one for which
Nature designed us.
Pitfalls of Fragmented Thinking
The Natural Hygiene approach to diet and nutrition is markedly different than the
fragmented perspective that is common among health seekers and diet promoters. The
fragmented view does not so much look at foods as it does their component parts. It also
fails to distinguish true well-being from merely looking good, feeling good, or removing
symptoms of dis-ease—a grave error, indeed.
The fragmented approach extols the virtues of certain nutrients in a “pick-andchoose” fashion—the kind used in infomercial sales pitches. Excellently geared toward
selling a specific product, this viewpoint never considers the full story, always omitting
material that would give a more balanced view of the situation.
Like a person who makes a decision after listening to only one side in a debate, the
fragmented thinker relies on skewed information, and the resulting incomplete picture
provides a misunderstanding of nutrition that can only spiral out of control.
Below is one version of a famous Indian legend. The story pointedly illustrates the
confusion that results when we mistake a fragmented view for the whole picture.
The Blind Men and the Elephant9
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk
Cried, “Ho! what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me `tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up he spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee:
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“’Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope.
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
As with the blind men’s wildly divergent assessments of the same elephant, the
misinformation coming from most diet and nutrition “experts” who teach from their
fragmented perspectives may be correct, in some sense—but none of it leaves its
recipients properly informed.
Using the fragmented approach, if I were concerned about calcium, I would seek out
foods high in calcium. I would not likely consider the foods that cause me to lose
calcium, or even those that interfere with calcium uptake. I would not research the
lifestyle factors that result in calcium losses, nor those that enhance calcium absorption.
Alternatively, I might choose to take calcium supplements, a prime example of
fragmented thinking. It is unlikely that I would inquire about any possible adverse
effects of consuming too much calcium. Nor would I tend to educate myself about the
bioavailability of one form of calcium versus another. Perhaps most important, I would
not know to question the wisdom of thinking in terms of isolated nutrients in the first
In nature, calcium (and all other nutrients) come packaged in a very precise
combination in plant foods, accompanied by hundreds, even thousands, of other
micronutrients that are designed to be consumed together. We cannot improve upon
Nature’s pristine design by extracting and refining one or even a few dozen nutrients—
removing them from the cofactors they naturally accompany—and produce a positive
What is more, I have heard estimates that scientists today may have discovered only
10% of the nutrients in existence, particularly the so-called phytonutrients (plant
nutrients). In light of this, we might stop for a moment to wonder: How can any of us
claim to have zeroed in on some specific nutrient deficiency and take informed action
toward correcting it? It cannot be done intelligently, in my opinion.
Whole Foods, First and Only
Despite our technological advances, nutrition is a young science. We lack both the
knowledge and the technology to reproduce in a laboratory the brilliant balance of
nutrients found in whole plant foods.
Anything short of whole plant foods—be they green juices, “healthy” oils,
dehydrated “whole-food” supplements, or white-powdered pharmaceutical-grade
“superfoods”—always misses the mark, guaranteed.
All we can hope to accomplish through eating refined, fractional foods is
satiation and compromised nutrition.
All we can hope to achieve through supplementation with isolated nutrients is
to relieve symptoms while creating further imbalances.
People tell me that hearing this discussion confuses them, for they often experience
welcome increases in energy and apparent reversal of health challenges through
supplementation. I find that these results come, however, at great cost. If these
individuals distance themselves from the supplement-vendor hype and slow their quest
for quick relief, they usually notice that their life has become an endless shell game, in
which they shift symptoms but never reach true health, homeostasis, and peace.
Health and Feeling Good Are Not the Same
This analogy sometimes helps people understand the difference between creating
health (the big picture) and treating symptoms (the fragmented view):
Employment example: Suppose you work in a dreary office for too little pay and
endure daily verbal abuse from a tyrannical employer. If you quit that job and break free,
would you now say that you have just the perfect job, the work of your dreams? Of
course not. What you have is nothing … no job at all. True, your newfound liberation
may bring welcome relief from the abuse, but alleviating your pain is a far cry from the
target—if your true desire is for fulfilling, rewarding work. Without positive action
toward a better job, you may sit idle for a very long time, having traded in one set of
problems (an oppressive work environment) for another (unemployment).
Health example: Similarly, many people use treatments, pharmaceuticals, or
“natural” drugs to suppress symptoms such as overweight, candida, allergies, or
headaches, or even to eliminate tumors and other forms of severe breakdown. Once they
experience relief—the headaches subside, the allergic wheezing abates, the tumor
shrinks—they proclaim themselves “cured” and believe that they have regained health.
They may look and feel better, but their newfound absence of dis-ease is just that—a
void. Again, this is a vast improvement over pain and suffering. But it is nothing close to
the vibrant energy and well-being that many of us desire.
People are incredulous when they first hear this: “You mean, if I get rid of my
seizures (or tumors, or migraines, or candida, or lupus, or …), that doesn’t mean I’m
The answer is, unequivocally, no. If they continue the cycle of living in ways that
created their health issues in the first place—and then attacking the inevitable symptoms
with remedies and treatments—they set in motion the aforementioned shell game,
repeatedly trading in one set of health complaints for another seemingly unrelated
complex of maladies, never getting closer to the goal of lasting, radiant health.
In both examples, the new liberation represents a zero point, a neutral position from
which health or recurring disease (satisfying work or ongoing unemployment) can
emerge. The person who is free of symptoms is no more healthy than the unemployed
person is professionally fulfilled.
To attain the (big-picture) goal of gratifying work or lasting well-being, we must
take positive action toward our desired result, not just negative action away from the
condition we do not want (a fragmented solution at best). When we use remedies and
therapies to eliminate symptoms, we do nothing to address their original cause, hence
nothing to create health. We must educate ourselves about the causes of health (not
disease) and include these in our daily routine.
Your Doctor Cannot Help Here …
Many drugs, diets, and supplements are sold with an admonition to “consult your
physician” before consuming them. But is there value in looking to the medical
profession for nutritional advice? Consider this sobering tidbit:
“In a medical journal article entitled ‘Bizarre and Unusual Diets,’ the authors warn
that the Atkins Diet had such questionable safety that it should ‘only be followed under
medical supervision.’ But what do doctors know about nutrition? Even though the United
States Congress mandated that nutrition become an integrated component of medical
education, as of 2004, less than half of all U.S. medical schools have a single mandatory
course in nutrition. That explains the results of a study published in the American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition that pitted doctors against patients head to head in a test of
basic nutrition knowledge. The patients won.”10
Since doctors generally have nothing to offer us once we shift our focus from
treating disease to causing wellness, it is important to familiarize yourself with the
elements of health. The following list of thirty-two key contributors to human well-being
is a good start. Though there is no official order or ranking, I would venture to say that
the first ten are actually indispensable—essential—for even a moderate level of true
The big-picture approach that I espouse is based on this simple concept: “It is
always better to correct a problem—to remove its cause—than it is to supplement or
suppress it.” Nutrition is a very complex field of endeavor, and it is easily misunderstood
and misinterpreted, just as the forest can become invisible when looking at individual
With 80/10/10, I endeavor to give a new interpretation of nutritional information,
one that is not designed to incite fear in an attempt to stimulate product sales. By putting
the parts together into one simple but complete package, I hope that nutrition will
become a less daunting subject. True health is within everyone’s grasp, but it is
necessary to see the big picture.
This radically different view is unpopular, because it does not generate any revenue.
The 80/10/10 approach uses no repeat products, no supplements, no high-priced, elitist
“superfoods.” 80/10/10 uses a simple grocery-store approach to nutrition that brings this
program easily into the grasp of everyone.
Weight Watching: The Ultimate in Shortsightedness
Shifting this discussion to body weight, I think of how sad I feel when I see people
who are obsessed with losing (or gaining) weight, to the exclusion of their well-being
and vitality. Myopically focused on body image, they consume all manner of nutritional
experiments, with little if any regard for possible consequences.
Despite our wishful thinking—and advertising to the contrary—our digestive
system is more than just a pleasure tube that eventually eliminates whatever indigestible
concoction we filled it with. Our bodies replace the vast majority of our cells within
seven years or less. Some, such as the cells that line the mouth and digestive tract, are
replaced daily. In a very real sense, the foods we eat are constantly in the process of
becoming “us.”
Given this fact, wouldn’t you want to ensure that every bite you take is made of the
highest-quality raw materials (pun intended) from which to build the “you” that you are
becoming? What would be the point of following a diet that compromises your health in
the process? Is it worth ruining your kidneys, heart, or liver just to lose or gain weight,
especially when you can achieve your goal without causing such damage?
Youth is forgiving; we can eat practically any abomination for some period of
decades with no apparent adverse effects. But eventually, the statistics say, virtually all
of us have to admit to ourselves that the gig is up. Eating garbage to look thin,
consuming fat to gain weight, stimulating ourselves to artificial highs through
supplements that give us “energy,” and relieving one discomfort while unknowingly
creating another, simply have not gotten us where we wanted to go.
Herein lies the paradox: losing weight, feeling good, even ridding ourselves of
intractable diseases, does not necessarily mean we have become healthier. Heroin users
feel good. So do coffee drinkers. So too do superfood evangelists. Junk-food-eating
entertainers, anorexic runway models, and supplement-pounding body builders may look
good…but are any of these people nourishing their bodies on a cellular level? Are they
eating whole, unrefined foods in the quantities and proportions on which their bodies
were designed to thrive? Absolutely not.
Where Diet and Health Meet
I struggled with how to position this book, debating with several colleagues whether
80/10/10 referred to a weight-management plan or a healthy eating guideline. As you
may have guessed, it’s really a bit of both.
I have spent the last several pages driving home the differences between fragmented
thinking and the big-picture perspective for one purpose: to cement in your mind the
obvious and inextricable relationship between the goals of weight management and
healthful living.
If you picked up this book looking for guidance in losing or gaining weight, rest
assured, you have come to the right place. Yet I hope I have succeeded in persuading you
that a perfect-looking body is not really all you want. Shifting your focus to your health
will speed you toward optimal body weight, I promise … but chances are you will feel so
great that your appearance will take backseat—a mere sideshow to the vital main event
your life has become.
Eating healthfully does not represent deprivation; having our health destroyed—
literally taken away by the mouthful—that is deprivation. People say, “Everything in
moderation.” I suggest that foods that are good for us are good only in moderation, but
that the foods that are harmful to us should be avoided, regardless of the dose.
Some say, “It is a sickness to try to eat too well.” I suggest that it is a sickness to
intentionally do anything that is self-destructive. I believe it is time that we all started
loving ourselves a lot more, and that we demonstrate that love by nourishing our bodies
with foods that love us back.
My goal in writing this book is to provide a definitive resource for those who want
to reach for the sky. I am committed to having it all in life, and I want that for my loved
ones, my clients, and my audiences, as well.
In these pages, I define healthful nutrition and summarize some relevant
information about carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and their roles in our bodies. I
describe the 80/10/10 diet, my low-fat, low-protein program based on eating whole,
fresh, ripe, raw, organic, plant-based foods. I teach how to improve your diet in a
gradual, easy way. Finally, I share numerous testimonials from people who have
transformed their lives by following this program.
Rather than coming out against fat or any other dietary choice, my intention is to
give voice to what has proven to be the healthiest choice in the world of food and
nutrition. I am convinced that the 80/10/10 plan meets human nutritional needs as well
as can be hoped for in our modern world.
Chapter 1. Determining Our True Dietary Nature
How does one determine the correct food for any given creature? Let us suppose
that you were given a baby animal and you had no idea what it was or what it was
supposed to eat. Perhaps it was a gift from a foreign land. How would you know what to
feed it?
The answer is relatively simple. All you would have to do is offer the creature
different types of foods in their whole, natural state. That which it was designed for, it
would eat. It would likely ignore all the other items, not even considering them as food. I
have done this successfully with orphaned animals that I have saved.
The same technique would work with a human child. Put the child in a room with a
lamb and a banana. Sit back and watch to see which he plays with and which he eats. We
can be fairly sure of the outcome. Try again with fats versus fruits by offering a choice
of (natural, raw, unsalted) nuts, seeds, avocados, or olives on the one hand and any fresh
sweet fruit on the other. Again, we can safely predict that the child will choose the sweet
Aren’t We Carnivores?
Our anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and psychology all indicate that we are not
carnivores. To say that carnivores eat carnage or flesh does not accurately portray such
creatures. Animals that live on other animals usually eat raw meat, straight from the
carcass, with relish. Carnivores consume most of the animal, not merely the flesh, eating
the muscle meat as well as the organs and lapping up the warm, fresh blood and other
bodily fluids with gusto. They delight in the guts and their partially digested contents.
They even crush, split, and eat the smaller bones and their marrow and gristle (collagen
or cartilage).
Dogs, for instance, require far more calcium than humans, for animal flesh is
extremely acid forming. The calcium (an alkaline mineral) in blood and bones offsets the
acidic end materials of flesh foods. They also require much more protein than humans
do.11 When you note the vigor with which dogs devour whole animals, you can be sure
that what carnivores need for their nourishment is quite delicious to them.
Most of us love animals as fellow creatures on Earth. We do not salivate at the idea
of crushing the life out of a rabbit with our bare hands and teeth, and the thought of
eating one in a freshly killed state is repulsive. We certainly do not enjoy chewing on
bones, gristle, entrails, chunks of raw fat and flesh, and the hair and vermin that
inevitably accompany them. We can not imagine slurping hot blood, getting it all over
our faces, hands, and bodies. These behaviors are alien to our natural disposition and are
actually sickening.
The sights and smells of the slaughterhouse and even the butcher shop are those of
death. Many people find them unspeakably abhorrent. Slaughterhouses are so
objectionable to most people that no one is allowed to visit. Even the employees find
slaughterhouse conditions impossible to make peace with. Slaughterhouses have the
highest employee turnover rate of any industry. Meat eating does not fit in with our
concepts of kindness or compassion. There is no humane way to kill another creature.
We kill our animals by proxy, finding the actual carcass or corpse to be a thing of
disgust. The vast majority of adults agree that if they had to kill the animals in order to
eat, they would not eat meat ever again. We disguise animal flesh by eating only small
cuts of the muscle and some organ meats. Even then, we prefer to cook them and
camouflage them with condiments.
We disguise the reality of meat by changing the names of the foods from what they
really are to something more acceptable. We do not eat cow, pig, or sheep, but rather eat
mutton, pork, ham, beef, steak, and veal. We do not speak of eating blood or lymph, but
we salivate at the thought of a “juicy” steak. We distort reality even further by giving
animal qualities to our natural foods. Hence we refer to the “skin” of the fruit, eat its
“flesh,” dig out the “meat” of the nut, and even slice the “cheeks” or “shoulders” off fruit
when we cut two sides away from the pit. These animal allusions minimize the horror of
eating true flesh, but those of us who have not been desensitized are still aware of it.
The Evidence
When we weigh the evidence, we see that too many considerations exist in
physiology, anatomy, aesthetic disposition, and psychology for us to even seriously
entertain the notion that we were designed to eat flesh. By the time you finish this
chapter (substantially derived from the writings of T.C. Fry), I think you will agree that
human beings simply are not equipped to be carnivores.
Humans vs. Carnivores
The following is an incomplete list of the major differences between humans and
carnivorous creatures.
Walking: We have two hands and two feet, and we walk erect. All of the carnivores
have four feet and perform their locomotion using all fours.
Tails: Carnivores have tails.
Tongues: Only the truly carnivorous animals have rasping (rough) tongues. All
other creatures have smooth tongues.
Claws: Our lack of claws makes ripping skin or tough flesh extremely difficult. We
possess much weaker, flat fingernails instead.
Opposable thumbs: Our opposable thumbs make us extremely well equipped to
collect a meal of fruit in a matter of a few seconds. Most people find the process
effortless. All we have to do is pick it. The claws of carnivores allow them to catch
their prey in a matter of seconds as well. We could no more catch and rip the skin or
tough flesh of a deer or bear barehanded than a lion could pick mangos or bananas.
Births: Humans usually have children one at a time. Carnivores typically give birth
to litters.
Colon formation: Our convoluted colons are quite different in design from the
smooth colons of carnivorous animals.
Intestinal length: Our intestinal tracts measure roughly 12 times the length of our
torsos (about 30 feet). This allows for the slow absorption of sugars and other
water-borne nutrients from fruit. In contrast, the digestive tract of a carnivore is
only 3 times the length of its torso. This is necessary to avoid rotting or
decomposition of flesh inside the animal. The carnivore depends upon highly acidic
secretions to facilitate rapid digestion and absorption in its very short tube. Still, the
putrefaction of proteins and the rancidity of fats is evident in their feces.
Mammary glands: The multiple teats on the abdomens of carnivores do not
coincide with the pair of mammary glands on the chest of humans.
Sleep: Humans spend roughly two thirds of every 24-hour cycle actively awake.
Carnivores typically sleep and rest from 18 to 20 hours per day and sometimes
Microbial tolerance: Most carnivores can digest microbes that would be deadly for
humans, such as those that cause botulism.
Perspiration: Humans sweat from pores on their entire body. Carnivores sweat
from the tongues only.
Vision: Our sense of vision responds to the full spectrum of color, making it
possible to distinguish ripe from unripe fruit at a distance. Meat eaters do not
typically see in full color.
Meal size: Fruit is in scale to our food requirements. It fits our hands. A few pieces
of fruit is enough to make a meal, leaving no waste. Carnivores typically eat the
entire animal when they kill it.
Drinking: Should we need to drink water, we can suck it with our lips, but we
cannot lap it up. Carnivores’ tongues protrude outward so they can lap water when
they need to drink.
Placenta: We have a discoid-style placenta, whereas the carnivores have zonary
Vitamin C: Carnivores manufacture their own vitamin C. For us, vitamin C is an
essential nutrient that we must get from our food.
Jaw movement: Our ability to grind our food is unique to plant eaters. Meat eaters
have no lateral movement in their jaws.
Dental formula: Mammalogists use a system called the “dental formula” to
describe the arrangement of teeth in each quadrant of the jaws of an animal’s
mouth. This refers to the number of incisors, canines, and molars in each of the four
quadrants. Starting from the center and moving outward, our formula, and that of
most anthropoids, is 2/1/5. The dental formula for carnivores is 3/1/5-to-8.
Teeth: The molars of a carnivore are pointed and sharp. Ours are primarily flat, for
mashing food. Our “canine” teeth bear no resemblance to true fangs. Nor do we
have a mouth full of them, as a true carnivore does. I am reminded of one of
Abraham Lincoln’s favorite retorts: “If you counted a sheep’s tail as a leg, how
many legs would it have?” Invariably, people would answer, “five.” To which
Lincoln would respond: “Only four. Counting the tail as a leg doesn’t make it one.”
Tolerance for fat: We do not handle more than small quantities of fat well. Meat
eaters thrive on a high-fat diet.
Saliva and urine pH: All of the plant-eating creatures (including healthy humans)
maintain alkaline saliva and urine most of the time. The saliva and urine of the meat
eating animals, however, is acidic.
Diet pH: Carnivores thrive on a diet of acid-forming foods, whereas such a diet is
deadly to humans, setting the stage for a wide variety of disease states. Our
preferred foods are all alkaline-forming.
Stomach acid pH: The pH level of the hydrochloric acid that humans produce in
their stomachs generally ranges about 3 to 4 or higher but can go as low as 2.0. (0 =
most acidic, 7 = neutral, 14 = most alkaline). The stomach acid of cats and other
meat eaters can be in the 1+ range and usually runs in the 2s. Because the pH scale is
logarithmic, this means the stomach acid of a carnivore is at least 10 times stronger
than that of a human and can be 100 or even 1,000 times stronger.
Uricase: True carnivores secrete an enzyme called uricase to metabolize the uric
acid in flesh. We secrete none and so must neutralize this strong acid with our
alkaline minerals, primarily calcium. The resulting calcium urate crystals are one of
the many pathogens of meat eating, in this case giving rise to or contributing to
gout, arthritis, rheumatism, and bursitis.
Digestive enzymes: Our digestive enzymes are geared to make for easy fruit
digestion. We produce ptyalin—also known as salivary amylase—to initiate the
digestion of fruit. Meat-eating animals do not produce any ptyalin and have
completely different digestive enzyme ratios.
Sugar metabolism: The glucose and fructose in fruits fuel our cells without
straining our pancreas (unless we eat a high-fat diet). Meat eaters do not handle
sugars well. They are prone to diabetes if they eat a diet that is predominated by
Intestinal flora: Humans have different bacterial colonies (flora) living in their
intestines than those found in carnivorous animals. The ones that are similar, such
as lactobacillus and e. coli are found in different ratios in the plant eaters’ intestines
as compared to those of the carnivores.
Liver size: Carnivores have proportionately larger livers in comparison to their
body size than humans.
Cleanliness: We are the most particular of all creatures about the cleanliness of our
food. Carnivores are the least picky, and will eat dirt, bugs, organic debris, and
other items along with their food.
Natural appetite: Our mouths water at the sights and smells of the produce market.
These are living foods, the source of our sustenance. But the smell of animals
usually puts us off. Meat eaters’ mouths water at the sight of prey, and they react to
the smell of animals as though they sense food.
So … What Kind of “Vores” Are We?
Despite the gross perversion of our instincts, they are still alive and well in most
people and would reassert themselves should we be relegated back to nature. Therefore,
this quest is to ascertain what we would eat in nature.
Our instinctive foods, the foods that helped to develop us to our magnificence,
contain all that we need to thrive o. In this section, we inquire about the various types of
foods we humans presently eat. We will evaluate whether each type is an appropriate
food for us based on how that food occurs in nature without benefit of cooking
equipment, tools, and containers. Remember, your instincts will reject or embrace each
food on its merits—that is, its appeals to your senses and palate—the only criteria that
guided our food selection in ages past.
Our premise is that Nature served us correctly to start with. We recognize that we
thrived and attained our high station, and that what was right for us then is still right for
us now, as we are structurally and physiologically the same as we were during most of
our sojourn as humans in nature. It is logical that, within our modern context, we can
supply ourselves with natural foods.
Are We Herbivores?
Herbivores, or vegetarians, are natural consumers of greenery such as grass, weeds,
leaves, stalks, and stems. A broader definition of “vegetarian” includes anyone who eats
only plant-derived foods. Typical vegetarian foods may include a preponderance of fruits
and greens but, in practice the designation vegetarian means that one eats anything and
everything besides animal flesh.
Does foraging in nature for grass, weeds, and leaves appeal to you? Do these items
attract your eye, tantalize your sense of smell, and excite your palate? Of course not, for
the simple reason that they cannot satisfy your needs. You do not secrete cellulase or
other enzymes that break down these plants as herbivores do. Therefore you cannot
derive your foremost need from them—namely, simple sugars—which are your body’s
primary fuel. Rather, the processing and problems caused by their ingestion occasion a
net loss of energy.
Humans do consume green leafy plants such as lettuce, celery, spinach and the like,
as well as the tougher cruciferous vegetables (beets, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage,
collards, kale, and others). Eaten plain, as they occur in nature, these tough vegetables
are high in insoluble fiber and therefore difficult for us to digest. Although we can
cultivate a taste for them, they really hold only a moderate appeal to us.
All vegetables yield (to the extent digested) proteins, some essential fatty acids,
mineral matter, vitamins, and some simple sugars. But if we get enough of these
nutrients from our natural foods, then these are not needed from plants that we do not eat
raw with keen relish.
So, the answer is yes—humans are biologically equipped to supplement their diets
with a wide variety of plant-based “vegetarian” substances. Though we include
vegetables in our diets, we’re not primarily vegetable eaters by nature. And the divergent
array of foods we commonly classify as such are not by any stretch of the imagination
our primary ideal, natural source of fuel or other nutrients. Obviously, we’re not
Are We Starch Eaters?
Starches can be divided into three general categories: grains (grass seeds), roots and
tubers, and legumes.
Grains. Creatures that naturally eat grains, which are the seeds of grasses, are
called “granivores.” A similar term, “graminivore,” refers to species whose primary
diet consists of grasses. Many birds in nature live on the seeds of grasses and weeds.
Included among the thousands of grass seeds that exist throughout nature are wheat,
rice, oats, rye, and barley—all of which humans developed as a result of their
mastery of nature only within the last 10,000 years.
Of course, in nature we would all reject grass seeds as foods. First, they
grow in a form we can neither chew nor digest. Grain-eating birds possess a
“crop,” a pouch in their throats or gullets, where the grains they swallow whole
are allowed to germinate, thereby becoming digestible. Grains are indigestible
raw, but even cooked, the complex carbohydrates in them require great
digestive effort to break down.
Heavy on starches, grass seeds such as wheat berries would gag us if we
attempted to eat the equivalent of a spoonful or two (assuming we could gather
them, and remembering that they would have their husks intact, as we would
have to eat them in nature) Further, eating a tablespoon of raw flour made from
the seeds of any cereal grain would also produce a gag response because it is so
Thus, even though most of the human race presently consumes grains and
starches, we can reject them as natural human fare. The fact that grass seeds
neither attract, tantalize, nor arouse us in their raw natural state should amply
indicate to you that we were not granivores in nature before we mastered fire.
Instead of being a palate-tingling delight, these complex-carbohydrate foods in
their natural state are a torturesome affair.
Starchy roots and tubers. Animals that grub for roots and tubers are anatomically
designed for the task: they have snouts; humans do not. Without tools, humans are
very poor diggers. Further, they have no motivation to dig, for there are no foods
below ground that, in their natural state, please the palate, and very few exist that
our digestive systems can even handle. Some roots, notably turnips, rutabagas,
sweet potatoes, yams, beets, carrots, parsnips, and salsify can be eaten raw, though
in practice today, next to none are eaten this way.
Humans generally abhor dirt, are quite fastidious, and refuse to eat
anything covered in or even tinged with dirt. Hogs and other grubbers pass lots
of dirt through their bodies.
In nature, with only handmade tools and without cooking apparatus, we
would have to eat roots raw or not at all. In our natural habitat, abundant in our
preferred foods, we can be sure that the roots that man could handle without
tools received precious little attention as food. In view of these considerations,
you can write off humans as natural root grubbers.
Legumes. Very few creatures other than birds and pigs readily consume legumes, as
legumes in their mature state are indigestible and/or toxic to most mammals. For
humans, raw mature legumes are not just unpalatable, they are quite toxic. We
simply have no capacity for consuming them in their natural state. Many creatures
eat young legumes quite greedily. Pigeons and other birds actually eat the entire
legume plant, long before it has a chance to flower. While young legumes are edible
and nontoxic, one must question their nutritional makeup.
Legumes are touted as excellent sources of protein, and their protein
content is generally quite high. High protein levels are not necessarily a good
thing, however, especially for humans, who seem to thrive best on a diet
composed of less than 10% of calories from protein. As it is in flesh, dairy, and
eggs, the protein in legumes is rich in the amino acid methionine, which
contains high amounts of the acidic mineral sulfur.
The carbohydrate levels of legumes are also high enough to make them
difficult to digest due to the high protein levels. Invariably when eating
legumes, humans get gassy, an indication that their digestive processes have
been compromised. The lack of vitamin C, an essential nutrient for humans,
also makes legumes a very poor food choice.
From standpoints of taste, nutrition, digestion, and toxicity, legumes simply do not
make a viable food option for humans.
To fully digest starchy foods—grains, roots and tubers, and legumes—an animal
must produce large quantities of starch-digesting enzymes (amylases). Granivores, root
grubbers, and legume eaters all secrete sufficient amylase to digest large quantities of
starch. If you view a cow chewing on hay, salivary amylase is dripping into the field. In
contrast, the human body produces salivary amylase (also called ptyalin) of extremely
limited strength and in relatively low amounts, sufficient only to break down small
amounts of starch, such as would be found in fruit that is not fully ripened. The body also
produces small quantities of pancreatic amylase for somewhat limited starch digestion in
the intestines.
When humans can freely eat starchy grains, roots, tubers, and legumes such as
wheat, potatoes, and lentils in their raw state to satiation and proclaim the experience a
gourmet treat, then both you and I might accede that we are starch eaters.
Are We Consumers of Fermented Foods?
Substantially all Americans eat fermented and otherwise decomposed substances that are
called foods. Most are derived from milk. Some are made from grains (especially the
alcohols), fruits (wines and certain vinegars), legumes (especially the soy bean and its
suite of putrefactive products), and decomposed meats.
Carbohydrates ferment when fungi and bacteria decompose them. Fermented
carbohydrates produce alcohol, acetic acid (vinegar), and lactic acid, as well as
methane and carbon dioxide.
Proteins putrefy (rot) when they decompose. Decomposed primarily by anaerobic
bacteria but also by fungi (yeast) and aerobic bacteria, proteins produce as end
products ptomaines (cadaverine, muscarine, neurine, ptomatropine, putrescine, and
others), indoles, leukomaines, skatoles, mercaptans, ammonia, methane, hydrogen
sulfide, and yet other toxic compounds.
Fats become rancid and repulsive when they oxidize and decompose.
Oddly, we discard fermented grapes, yet we drink their fermentation end product
(wine). Odder still, most Americans consume with abandon something that never
occurred in nature—a pathogenic putrefactive product called cheese. We make cheese by
taking the casein portion of milk and rotting it with types of bacteria that yield byproducts that many palates have come to appreciate. Cheese represents about all the
decomposition products in a single package: putrefactive proteins, fermented
carbohydrates, and rancid fats.
You need only to refer to a good dictionary to learn just how poisonous these
substances are. Yet, Americans eat billions upon billions of pounds of cheese annually.
To assert that all these poisons going into the system cause anything less than sickness,
disease, and debility is misrepresentation. Tumors and cancer are often the result.
Given that humans could not consume these types of decomposed products in nature
without tools and containers, we may safely categorize them as unnatural, and certainly
not among the foods we would primarily use for sustenance.
Are We Sucklings of Animals?
I doubt that humans ever directly suckled cattle, goats, mares, camels, sheep, and other
animals. And, of course, the idea of doing this is obnoxious to our disposition.
The practice of drinking animal milk as a regular part of our adult diet is only a few
hundred years old. Before the advent of the combustion engine, it was not possible to
plow, sow, and harvest sufficient grain for most families to support more than just a cow
or two. Giving cow’s milk to children in lieu of mother’s milk is also a relatively new
practice that dates back only about two hundred years.
Certain Arabic and African peoples have used animal milk for millennia, but the
amount used was extremely small. True, certain peoples, like the Masai, live
substantially on milk and blood, but these are by no means our natural foods. They do so
primarily for lack of other easily obtainable foods.
No other animals in nature drink the milk of another species; they know
instinctively that the milk from their mothers is the perfect food to support their rapid
growth and to provide the precise nutrient mix their developing bodies require. We are
no more designed for cow’s milk than for pig’s milk or rat’s milk or giraffe’s milk … or
vice versa.
Milk-drinking is pathogenic. If milk and milk products were discontinued today,
millions of people would cease to suffer sicknesses and pathologies within a short
period.12 In fact, if this one dietary practice alone were discontinued, the hospitals would
virtually empty out and physicians’ waiting rooms would be mostly vacated.
Humans are most certainly designed by nature as sucklings—but only for their early
years of life, and only of their own mother’s milk. We would do ourselves an
astronomical favor if we had the good sense to stop consuming milk after weaning age,
as does every other milk-drinking creature on Earth.
Are We Eaters of Nuts, Seeds, and Other High-Fat Plants?
There is no doubt but that early humans in nature did consume some nuts and seeds,
though certainly plants create them for reproduction, not for consumption. The various
types of seeds, most prominently grains, weeds, fruit seeds, and nuts (all nuts are seeds)
have protective outer coatings that range in texture from fibrous to hard and woody. We
do not have razor-sharp teeth and massive jaw power that squirrels use to extract nuts
from their shells.
Both seeds and nuts are endowed with nutrients sufficient to initiate and sustain a
certain minimum growth of their plants. As with all foods, we derive the greatest
nutritional benefit from nuts and seeds when we eat them in their raw state. Heated fats
and proteins are quite pathogenic—even carcinogenic. We should eat nuts raw or not at
Most people in modern society, however, have never tasted truly raw nuts and
seeds. High in water content, genuinely raw nuts have a texture more like apples (in the
case of almonds) or nut butters (in the case of macadamias). Virtually all commercially
available nuts and seeds have been oven-dehydrated at “low” temperatures, (perhaps 160
F) often for days, to prevent them from going moldy, thus extending their shelf life.
Unfortunately, our ability to digest nuts and seeds—whether raw, dehydrated, or
heated—is rather poor. Ranging from about 55 to 85% fat, nuts and seeds are best eaten
infrequently and in very small amounts. Even then, their breakdown into fatty acids,
amino acids, and glucose requires a drawn-out process that takes hours. Fats may lie in
the small intestine for several hours before the gallbladder secretes bile with which to
emulsify (break down and liquefy) them.
In contrast, high-fat fruits like avocados, durians, akees, breadfruit, and olives are
rich in easily digestible fats (when ripe). These fruits range in fat content from 30% of
calories (durian) to 77% (avocado). Coconut meat, also high in fat (ranging perhaps 20 to
80%, depending on maturity), is easily digested in the jelly-like state but almost
impossible to digest when matured and hardened.
Leafy greens and other vegetables, when eaten raw and fresh, contain a small
amount of fatty acids in an easily usable state. However, some (primarily the cruciferous
vegetables) contain unwanted toxic sulfur compounds. We derive our best predigested
fats adequate to meet our fatty-acid needs from fruits and tender leaves.
Biologically we are not a species of fat eaters, but merely incidental eaters of fats.
Although an occasional avocado or small handful of nuts and seeds is quite satisfying
and complements our natural diet, we are primarily carbohydrate eaters.
Are We Omnivores—That Is, All of the Above?
Of course, humans are omnivores in practice, with the aid of cook stoves, condiments,
taste excitants, camouflaging seasonings, spices and so on. But, in nature, we could not
do more than eat foods in season, and we would have to eat them in the raw state on the
basis of their effect on our taste buds. Without tools, technology, packaging and
containerization, and taste-masking agents, we would soon lose our omnivorous
tendencies out in the wild … and wet, sweet fruit would look better and better every day.
We’re Frugivores!
In nature, humans would be frugivores only. A frugivore is a creature that lives
primarily on fruits, with the addition of tender greens. (This includes the nonsweet
seeded fruits we generally eat with vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers,
okra, zucchini and other squashes, and eggplant.) Like all animals, we can indeed survive
(albeit less successfully) on a wide variety of foods. Nonetheless, our bodies are
designed to thrive on a diet of mainly fruit.
Some people adopt a totally fruitarian diet, meaning they attempt to live exclusively
on fruits, but I do not recommend this practice. Dark-green leafy vegetables provide
minerals and other nutrients essential for optimum nutrition and health.
Nutritionally, fruit comes closer to satisfying all of our needs (including, of course,
our desire for delicious soul-exalting fare) than any other food, as meat does for a
carnivore. Fruits are replete with the nutrients our bodies require—in the proportions
that we need them. Yes, some vegetables and other foods may have “more” of a
particular nutrient or class of nutrients, but fruits tend to contain the types and quantities
of nutrients our bodies require. More does not mean better.
Humans are sweet seekers by nature, designed to eat sweet fruits. Taste buds on the
very tips of our tongues recognize sweet tastes. Most of us are attracted to sweet fruits in
their raw state, regardless of what else our culture and circumstances dispose us to eat.
When ripened, fruits accommodatingly convert their carbohydrate components into
glucose and fructose, simple sugars we can use without further digestion. Enzymes in the
fruit convert proteins into amino acids and fats into fatty acids and glycerols. Thus, when
we eat fruits, all we need do is savor their goodness.
Fruits and Tender Greens?
You may have noticed that I described the frugivorous diet as one consisting primarily of
fruits, with the addition of tender greens. Where do the rest of the vegetables fit into this
This may shock you, but by every indication, our digestive physiology was designed
to process the soft, water-soluble fibers in fruits and tender leaves, almost exclusively.
It is true that cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards,
Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are loaded with nutrients, including soluble fiber. But they
also contain cellulose and other tough, difficult-to-digest fibers. These vegetables are
best digested when eaten in their youngest and most tender state. For best results, they
must be thoroughly chewed or mechanically predigested via the use of a blender or
shredding device.
To assimilate completely, we need to digest completely, and every time we eat
foods that are more difficult to digest, we compromise our nutrition and, over time, our
health. To be sure, we are capable of swallowing vegetation that contains cellulose and
other rough, insoluble fibers, but such foods put a great load on our organs of digestion
and elimination.
Where health is concerned, we want to derive the greatest benefits while
minimizing the detriments or outright harm. When we apply this idea to nutrition, we are
looking for “enough” of the nutrients we need, not necessarily the most we can get. The
indigestible fibers in the harder-textured vegetables are very difficult for our bodies to
digest, relative to the soft, soluble fibers in fruits and tender leafy greens. Thus, they are
not among our ideal foods.
Our Senses Confirm
Imagine for a moment that you are about to eat some delicious piece of fruit—perhaps a
grape, peach, melon, banana, apple, plum, orange, mango, fig, or berry … you choose the
variety. Picture holding the fruit in your hand, admiring its beauty. You hold it to your
nose and smell its sweet and distinctive fragrance. It tempts you to take a bite, but first
you appreciate the fruit in your mind just a little more, increasing the pleasure. At this
point, your mouth should be watering. The fruit requires no preparation; it is a finished
product, ready to be consumed exactly as Nature prepared it. For humans, fruits attract
the eye, tantalize the sense of smell, and taste divine in their raw, natural, ripe state.
Now, try the same thing again, this time imagining a field of wheat, or a herd of
cattle, or a flock of birds in flight. Does your mouth water? When pressed to imagine
themselves foraging for food in nature, even those who vehemently question the
frugivorous disposition of man have to admit that they would choose little other than
fruits. This does not mean we should eat fruits totally and exclusively in our present
circumstances, but it does mean that, in nature, they would comprise the overwhelming
majority of our food choices.
Allowing fruit to predominate in your diet makes succeeding on the 80/10/10 plan
easier than any other approach to eating, raw or cooked. To develop the healthiest and
sanest relationship with food, and in order to stick with a dietary plan that will work for
you for the rest of your life, have all the fruit you care for to take you through your
breakfast and lunch meals. Even your vegetable meals should begin with fruit, as much
as you like, until you are certain that you will not crave sweets at the end of the meal.
Chapter 2. Meeting Fruit Concerns Head-On
Do you know anybody whose candida was caused by eating fruit?
Do you know anybody whose diabetes was caused by eating fruit?
Do you know anybody whose cancer was caused by eating fruit?
If eating fruit didn’t cause these maladies,
why would you believe that avoiding fruit would correct them?
In spite of the fact that fruit has been treated as health food throughout history,
condemning fruit has come into vogue in many circles of late. Invariably, when people
hear me espousing a diet that is exceptionally high in fruit, they respond with a wellrehearsed litany of questions—the supposed “facts” about the many hazards of fruit
Is there any truth to the allegations about the supposed evils of fruit? Let us take
some time to look at a few of them.
Fruit and Blood Sugar
The mistaken notion that eating fruit causes blood-sugar problems underlies most
admonitions to steer clear of fruit, especially sweet fruit. Granted, high blood sugar does
lead to candida outbreaks, chronic fatigue, hyper- and hypoglycemia, diabetes, and a host
of other conditions and diseases, even cancer. “Too much” sugar is indeed bad for you,
though it is almost impossible to get too much sugar from the consumption of fresh fruit.
Eating fruit is not the cause of blood sugar problems … it’s just not that simple.
I know what I am saying sounds counterintuitive. It is something like telling people
that osteoporosis is not a calcium problem (see “The Dangers of Eating More Than 10%
Protein”). Nevertheless, both are true: taking in more calcium cannot alone shore up
brittle, osteoporotic bones … and fruit sugar alone does not cause high blood sugar. Stick
with me, if you will, while I explain the real cause.
Eating a diet of mostly fruit, including generous amounts of fresh sweet fruit, does
not create high blood sugar … not when you are eating a low-fat diet, that is. When the
system is not gummed up with excess fat, the sugar from even “high-glycemic” fruit
moves easily in and then out of the blood. Blood-sugar levels in a healthy individual do
not vary much in spite of changes in the diet.
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
The glycemic index ranks carbohydrate foods based on how quickly they break
down during digestion and thus how quickly their sugars enter the blood. Essentially, the
glycemic index tells you how quickly carbohydrates turn into blood sugar. However, it
doesn’t tell you how much of that carbohydrate is in a serving of any food. Both items of
information are essential in order to understand a food’s effect on blood sugar.
That is where the concept of “glycemic load” comes in. Used in conjunction with
the glycemic index, glycemic load information more accurately predicts the extent to
which a food elevates blood glucose than does the glycemic index by itself. This is
because by definition, the glycemic index measures carbohydrate quality but not
The glycemic load is calculated by multiplying a food’s glycemic index value by
the amount of available carbohydrate per serving (grams of carbohydrates less fiber),
then dividing by 100.13 Thus, fruits, which are mostly water, have a low glycemic load
even though they rate high on the glycemic index. For example, bananas rate 52 on the
glycemic index (where glucose = 100). But because water accounts for 75% of the
weight of a banana, its glycemic load is only 12 (52 24 grams of carbs, divided by 100 =
12; based on a 118-gram medium-sized banana). All fruits fall into the low or medium
categories on glycemic load/glycemic index charts (with the exception of watermelon,
whose GI ranks barely high).
It is best to eat fruit fresh, as drying and dehydrating both concentrate fruit sugars to
an unnatural level that the body is not designed to handle. It is also important to eat fruit
whole, not juiced, as the fiber in fruit slows sugar absorption to its natural speed. In all
cases and with all foods, whole, fresh, ripe, raw, and unprocessed is the way to go.
As you will see in the upcoming pages, the speed at which sugar enters the blood is
not really the most important factor. When fruits are eaten whole, with their fiber intact,
as part of a low-fat diet, their sugars do indeed enter the bloodstream relatively quickly.
But then they also exit just as quickly, making them the ideal food, one that provides the
perfect fuel for human consumption.
The American Diabetes Association says, “The use of added fructose as a
sweetening agent is not recommended; however, there is no reason to recommend that
people with diabetes avoid naturally occurring fructose in fruits, vegetables, and other
Fat, Not Fruit, Causes Blood-Sugar Problems
The raw food movement is renowned for its use of great quantities of nuts, seeds,
avocados, olives, flax and olive oil, coconuts, and other high-fat foods. On a high-fat
diet, whether cooked or raw, people experience nutritional deficiencies, plummeting
energy, hormone imbalances, intense cravings, and mood swings … everything goes
haywire, not the least of which is blood sugar.
The mechanism that causes blood sugar to rise out of control is actually very easy to
understand. Let’s begin with a highly simplified description of how our bodies process
Sugar’s Three-Stage Journey Through the Body
To be used as fuel for our cells, the sugars we eat travel a three-stage journey through
our bodies:
Stage 1: Sugars start out in the digestive tract when we eat them.
Stage 2: They pass through the intestinal wall, into the bloodstream.
Stage 3: They then move smoothly and easily out of the bloodstream and into our
cells. This occurs rapidly, often in minutes.
When we eat a high-fat diet, the sugar gets trapped in stage 2, and the body works
overtime, sometimes to the point of exhaustion and disease, in an effort to move the
sugar out of the bloodstream.15 Meanwhile, the sugar backs up in the blood, creating
sustained, elevated blood sugar that wreaks havoc on the body in the form of candida,
fatigue, diabetes, etc.
The Role of Insulin
What happens in the presence of fat that causes sugar to pile up in our bloodstream? It
has to do with the pancreas. Under the direction of the brain, the pancreas is responsible
for producing a hormone known as insulin. One of insulin’s roles is to function as a
doorman, allowing sugar molecules in the blood to find an insulin receptor in the blood
vessel wall. The insulin can then transport the sugar molecule through the blood vessel
membrane to the interstitial fluid (the fluid between the cells) and continue to escort
sugar across another barrier—the cell membrane—and into the cell itself.
In the body, fat provides many needed insulating functions, including conserving
body heat, absorbing shock, preventing too much water from escaping through the skin,
and protecting nerve fibers. But excess dietary fat in the bloodstream creates some
negative insulating effects. When we eat too much fatty food, a thin coating of fat lines
the blood vessel walls, the cells’ insulin-receptor sites, the sugar molecules, as well as
the insulin itself. These fats can take a full day or more to “clear” from the blood, all the
while inhibiting normal metabolic activity, and preventing these various structures from
communicating with each other.
Thus, too much fat in the blood impedes the movement of sugar out of the
bloodstream. This results in an overall rise in blood sugar, as sugars continue to travel
from the digestive tract (stage 1) into the blood (stage 2) but cannot escape from the
blood so they can be delivered to the cells (stage 3), which await their fuel.
High-Fat, Low-Carb Diets Raise Insulin Levels16
The entire theoretical framework of low-carb diets, like Atkins and The Zone, hang
upon the notion that insulin is the root of all evil. In the view of their promoters, one
needs to limit carbohydrate intake in order to limit insulin release. What they overlook is
that protein- and fat-rich foods may induce substantial insulin secretion as well. For
A quarter pound of beef raises insulin levels in diabetics as much as a quarter pound
of straight sugar. (Diabetes Care 7 (1984):465)
Cheese and beef elevate insulin levels higher than “dreaded” high-carbohydrate
foods like pasta. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 50 (1997):1264)
A single burger’s worth of beef, or three slices of cheddar, boost insulin levels more
than almost two cups of cooked pasta. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 50
In fact, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition article referred to above reports
that meat, compared to the amount of blood sugar it releases, seems to cause the most
insulin secretion of any food tested.
A study done at Tufts University, for example, presented at the 2003 American
Heart Association convention, compared four popular diets for a year. Out of the four
(Weight Watchers, The Zone Diet, the Atkins Diet, and the Ornish Diet), Ornish’s
vegetarian diet (almost all carbohydrates) was the only one to significantly lower insulin
(27%), even though that’s supposedly what The Zone and Atkins (very little
carbohydrates) diets were designed to do.17
Eating a high-fat diet, cooked or raw, contributes not peripherally, but directly and
causally to all of the misleadingly named “blood-sugar metabolic disorders.” Given this
new perspective, one might more accurately classify these diseases as “lipid metabolic
But What About Those Live Blood Analyses?
It is true. Raw food experts give lectures, write books, and travel with convincing stories,
slide shows, and videos that support their stance against fruit. How can it be denied?
Right there before our eyes, they show us pictures from their dark-field microscopes. We
can see for ourselves the misshapen, cloudy, fungus- and yeast-infected blood cells of
real patients who were so misguided as to eat a diet high in fruit!
Their “scientific” information seems conclusive: Fruit is clearly the culprit in
blood-sugar problems for raw fooders. But let’s step back for a minute: Take a look at
the high-fat recipes in the books, newsletters, and websites of those so quick to tell you
to avoid fruit. Note the fat-laden foods they serve guests at their institutes, retreats, and
rejuvenation centers. Pay attention to the rich tasty morsels they serve up at food demos
and festival booths.
Nuts, seeds, and avocados all run 75% fat or more, as a percentage of their calories.
Oils are 100% fat. It takes very little of these foods to push us way over the edge in
terms of blood fat. And raw fooders, as I will demonstrate, do not eat “very little” of
these foods.
Are you starting to see your raw diet and your intolerance for fruit in a new light?
Timing Is Not Everything
Unfortunately, taking care to avoid sugar/fat combinations at the same meal is not
sufficient to alleviate blood-sugar problems. Eating a high-fat diet creates elevated blood
sugar whenever fruit and other sweets are eaten, regardless of timing. Here’s why:
Sugars require little time in the stomach. Immediately upon putting a simple sweet
fruit into your mouth, some of the sugars are absorbed into the bloodstream from under
the tongue. Fruit eaten alone or in simple, well-chosen combination on an empty
stomach requires only a few minutes in the stomach before passing to the small
intestines, where the sugars can be quickly absorbed. Most of the sugar from fruit travels
from the intestines, to the bloodstream, and then to the cells where they are needed
within minutes of its consumption.
Fats, however, require a much longer period of time, often twelve to twenty-four
hours or more, before they reach their destination, the cells. In the stomach, fats are
subjected to a digestive process that usually takes several hours. When they finally do
proceed to the small intestine, they are absorbed into the lymphatic system, where they
often spend twelve hours or more before passing to the bloodstream. Most important,
fats linger in the bloodstream for many hours longer than do sugars.
On a high-fat diet, therefore, the bloodstream always contains an excessive quantity
of fat, and more is coming in at almost every meal. Essentially, even when you eat a fruit
meal alone and wait hours before eating fat, those sugars are likely to mix in your
bloodstream with the fats you ate the day before.
This is the primary reason raw fooders experience digestive difficulties, malaise,
“spaciness,” and blood-sugar disorders whenever they eat fruit. When your diet is
predominated by nut pâtés, seed cheeses, and flax crackers, it’s no wonder you’re told
not to eat fruit. Whether or not we eat fruit in the presence of such tremendously high
levels of fat, we set ourselves up for health problems and inability to remain raw.
Sugar + Fat = High Blood Sugar
Too much sugar in the blood is as life threatening as too little, and both are dangerous
for human health. Unfortunately, the fruit-phobic “experts” focus on the wrong portion
of the equation, keeping raw fooders so busy avoiding fruit that they somehow miss the
fact that they are eating more fat than our friends who eat standard American fare. In
Chapter 8, I outline just how much more.
Fruit and Chronic Fatigue
“How could the consumption of fruit be connected to chronic fatigue,” I wondered
years ago, after hearing about the millionth person tell me that is what they had heard.
After all, fruit is considered “energy food,” isn’t it? I researched the physiology of
chronic fatigue a little more deeply and was intrigued by what I found.
When pancreatic function is sluggish, as happens when the pancreas is fatigued or
overused, the adrenal glands serve as a backup mechanism. The adrenals produce the
hormone epinephrine (adrenaline), which stimulates pancreatic function and effectively
increases insulin production.
As I described in the previous section, abnormally high fat exists in the blood for
several hours every time we eat a high-fat meal. As blood-fat levels rise, the “normal”
level of pancreatic function is simply insufficient to clear sugars from the bloodstream.
Eventually, if we eat a high-fat diet for a long enough period of time, the pancreas begins
to fail at producing sufficient insulin to maintain healthy blood-sugar levels. Rather than
the typical gentle rise-and-fall fluctuations in blood sugar, we begin to experience
increasingly higher peaks and deeper valleys. Blood-sugar levels become unstable due to
the overconsumption of fat in the diet.
This sets up a situation where most of us rely upon adrenal-assisted pancreatic
function virtually every time we eat, placing constant excessive demands upon both our
pancreas and adrenals. This adrenal/pancreas relationship was designed for what is
known as the “fight-or-flight” response, an appropriate reaction to potentially lifethreatening conditions. This response would rarely be called upon if we lived in a natural
setting, where, for example, we might occasionally reach the top of a hill at the same
time as a bear with cubs, but from opposite sides.
In today’s world, however, we experience more adrenal-triggering responses than
we did in yesteryear. They seem to come hourly instead of weekly. Almost every time
we drive a car in the city, we experience at least one close call worthy of some degree of
adrenal response.
We’re a Society of Adrenaline Junkies
As a society, we have very much become adrenaline junkies. We are addicted to
stimulation, and rely upon our next “fix” constantly. From the shock of the alarm clock
and our morning coffee, to the newspaper headlines and the extreme behavior on daytime
talk shows, to movies, spectator sports, and “reality” television shows designed to evoke
intense emotions, to restaurant meals that are promoted more for their excitement value
than for their nutrition, straight through the day till the eleven o’clock news that is filled
with stories of death and destruction, we just keep calling for more adrenaline. Should
there be a gap in the “action” we feel sleepy, a sure sign of exhaustion. We are literally
living in a state of constant adrenal fatigue.
This excessive adrenal demand, coupled with the high stress of our American
lifestyle, result in such extreme overuse of the adrenals that they eventually begin to
The symptoms of severe adrenal failure are referred to collectively as “chronic
fatigue” in the United States, or ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) in Europe. Of course,
many signs and symptoms usually lead up to chronic fatigue; it rarely comes as a
complete surprise. Lack of motivation, malaise, reliance upon stimulants, excessive need
for sleep, and bouts of mononucleosis are all indications of varying degrees of adrenal
The Sugar Highs of Children
The adrenal response also plays a key role in what commonly happens to children at
birthday parties. They eat generous portions of extremely sugary foods, and shortly
thereafter they are running about wildly, literally out of control and almost out of their
minds. What happens, and why doesn’t it happen to adults?
The answer is rather simple. Young children do not drink coffee, smoke cigarettes,
use alarm clocks, or watch the eleven o’clock news. Life for them is interesting, full, and
never dull. They have a higher level of vitality than most adults, meaning that their
adrenal glands still function well. They are, however, on the same high-fat diet as adults.
Thus, when children eat great quantities of sugar on birthdays, Halloween, and other
occasions, they set off a particularly vigorous version of the chain reaction I have
described in this chapter. The fats remaining in their bloodstreams from their previous
day’s meals block insulin function just as effectively as they do in adults. Then their
young and not-yet-exhausted adrenal glands “kick in” with a jolt, releasing a good
amount of epinephrine. The next thing you know, the children are running wild.
Adults do not show such a response because they simply no longer have the vitality
to do so. Their adrenal glands are so fatigued that they require a true and serious
emergency in order to function at all. Do not blame the children for running wild.
Epinephrine is not to blame either, nor is the sugar.
Children on a low-fat diet do not show this same out-of-control response when
permitted to eat great quantities of sugar. It is the fat, more than the sugar, that is the
culprit for their hyperactivity. In the same way, fat—not sugar—is responsible for the
ever-increasing incidence of chronic fatigue syndrome (by whatever name) that we see in
the U.S. and the world today.
Fruit and Candida
The candida issue is riddled with more misinformation than perhaps any other area
in health care. It requires a bit of unraveling to make sense of the true candida picture, as
there is so much that needs to be unlearned.
Candida is a form of yeast, an organism that naturally occurs in human blood. It is
supposed to be there. This microbe consumes sugar for its food. As there is always sugar
in the blood (when diabetics check their sugar levels, they are actually monitoring the
amount of sugar in the blood), there is always food for the candida organism.
Candida Eats Excess Blood Sugar
The size or “population” of the candida colony in the blood is directly determined by its
food supply. If blood-sugar levels are always at a normal level, so is the size of the
candida colony that lives in the blood. When the sugar we eat leaves the blood to be
distributed and used by the cells of the body, any excess yeast quickly dies off, as it is
supposed to.
Should blood-sugar levels rise, however, the candida organisms multiply rapidly
(“bloom”) as they consume the excess sugar. Once they have done so and blood-sugar
levels come back down to normal, so does the number of candida microbes. This ebb and
flow happens as a normal part of human physiology and causes no health problems or
uncomfortable symptoms.
If fat levels stay chronically elevated due to a fat-rich diet, sugar remains in the
bloodstream and feeds the large candida colonies instead of feeding the 18 trillion cells
of the body. Starved for fuel, these cells can no longer metabolize energy. You become
tired, and feel rundown.
It is important to understand the implications of a rise in the blood-sugar level. If
the body is not able to reestablish normal blood-sugar levels, a dangerous situation
exists. The only mechanism that remains for bringing the blood sugar back down is the
The candida microbe in our blood is actually a life-saving organism, one that we do
not ever want to eradicate. It functions as another backup system—a safety valve that
helps to bring the blood-sugar level back down to normal in the event that the pancreas
and the adrenals fail at doing so.
Causing Our Own Candida
As I have described, most people create the conditions that cause pancreatic and adrenal
fatigue constantly, throughout the day and at every meal. It is therefore no surprise that
candida issues plague people until they actually change their lifestyle habits. Outbreaks
of candida are your wakeup call—a warning that your system is rapidly approaching
diabetes, and that you would do well to drastically curtail your fat consumption or face
dire health consequences.
Once again, the standard advice from the health community, traditional or
alternative, tends to be seriously off base. Comprehending only symptomology and not
the underlying fat-based cause, they tell us to avoid all sugar, including fruit. But fruit
consumption did not cause the candida problem, and avoiding it will not address the real
Granted, once you have gotten yourself into the candida quandary by
overconsuming fat, eating sweet-tasting fruits may seem to exacerbate your problem.
But eliminating fruit will not remove the cause of your problem, just the symptoms. In
the presence of too much fat in the blood, even a small amount of sugar, from any
source, can result in abnormally high blood-sugar levels. Furthermore, to the extent that
conscious attempts to lower blood sugar succeed, you feel tired. Trying to eliminate
candida by controlling a blood sugar problem inevitably fails, which is why we see
thousands of people battling candida for years without lasting success.
Because all carbohydrate, fat, and protein that we eat is converted to simple sugar
(glucose) if it is to be used by the cells for fuel, the way out of this cycle is not to eat less
sugar, but to consume less fat. When fat levels drop, the sugar starts to get processed and
distributed again, and the yeast levels drop because there is no longer excess sugar
available for it to eat.
The candida microbe is extremely short lived. If folks suffering from candida would
simply follow a low-fat diet, most of them would find that their candida issues were
completely gone in a matter of just a few days. Of course, they may still have the
underlying pancreatic and adrenal fatigue issues to resolve. Health comes only from
healthful living.
Fruit and Diabetes
As I mentioned in the introduction to this book, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control predicts that our incidence of diabetes will more than double by 2050. And here
is another recent statistic, perhaps the most startling of all: From 1990 to 1998 alone, the
incidence of diabetes in individuals between 30 and 39 years old increased by 70%! 18
Before we discuss how these staggering numbers can be true, and how the
underconsumption of fruit contributes to them, let me outline in briefest detail this
disease called diabetes.
Five percent of diagnosed diabetics are designated “Type 1,” (formerly “juvenile”)
diabetics. From birth, the pancreas of these individuals is unable to produce adequate
amounts of insulin for the metabolism of glucose. Although glucose is present, it
remains trapped in the bloodstream. The cells receive no fuel from carbohydrates to
perform their necessary functions, because glucose requires insulin for entry. Thus, first
among the symptoms of diabetes is malaise. You may have noticed that most diabetics
complain of being extremely tired most of the time.
The remaining 95% of diabetics are classified as “Type 2” (formerly adult-onset)
diabetics. In the vast majority of these cases, the pancreas produces adequate to
excessive levels of insulin, but glucose is nonetheless unable to enter the cells. This is in
large part a result of the high-fat American diet, which hinders the functioning of both
natural and injected insulin.
Diabetics of both types endure an array of increasingly debilitating symptoms,
ranging from frequent urination to unquenchable thirst, excessive hunger, sudden weight
loss, weakness and fatigue, reduced concentration and coordination, blurred vision,
irritability, recurrent infections, numbness in the extremities, and slow healing of cuts
and bruises.
Unfortunately, the ravages of diabetes are by no means the end point on this
slippery slope toward total health failure. Diabetics also face higher risks for heart
disease, stroke, hypertension, kidney disease, gangrene, limb amputations, and blindness,
among others.
All cellular function requires action to be followed by recovery, or inaction.
Overtrain (or underrecover) a muscle group and it will degenerate rather than grow. The
same is true for any organ. The pancreas cannot continue to overwork without showing
signs of partial, and eventually, total failure.
The Fat/Diabetes Connection
Given the horrors of this road to ruin, one would expect the masses to cry out for a
solution to the growing epidemic of diabetes. Instead, we seem determined to seal the
fate that the Centers for Disease Control has so ominously predicted. How do we ensure
the outcome they foretell? We simply need to continue doing what we have done for over
sixty years: eating a diet that is predominated by fat.
In this chapter, I have attempted to present a clear, if vastly oversimplified picture
of the natural progression of events that we set in motion when we eat insufficiently of
simple carbohydrates. Diabetes is but a natural stepping stone on the low-carb, high-fat
path to health devastation. Although not all diabetics experience chronic fatigue and
candidiasis, these conditions are manifestations of the same underlying condition—high
blood fat.
This fat/diabetes connection is not something I fabricated, and it is not
unrecognized in conventional medical circles. But its simple truth points to a condition
far too easily and naturally remedied for the medicopharmaceutical cartel to want any
part of it.
The correlation was documented as early as the 1920s:
In 1927 Dr. E. P. Joslin of the famous Joslin Diabetic Center in Boston suspected a
high-fat, high-cholesterol diet might contribute to the development of diabetes.19
In 1936, Dr. I.M. Rabinowitch of Canada presented 1,000 case studies
demonstrating it to the Diabetic Association in Boston. In his presentation, he
proved that the main factor inhibiting the metabolism of blood sugar in the presence
of normal insulin was too much fat in the blood.20
In 1959, the Journal of the American Medical Association also documented this
causal relationship between fat consumption and diabetes.21
A 1979 article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states, “Medical
research confirms that up to 50% of people with Type 2 diabetes can eliminate
diabetes risks and discontinue medication within three weeks by adopting a low-fat,
plant food diet and regular daily exercise.”22
In 1998, Duke University Medical Center researchers reported the findings of a
study demonstrating that Type 2 diabetes can be completely reversed in mice by
lowering dietary fat. The study showed that foods high in fat were responsible for
the onset of diabetes in the mice, whereas sugar had no effect at all on diabetes
symptoms. The press release states, “Without the fat, the diabetes does not occur,
even in diabetes-prone mice. When the high-fat diet is stopped in mice that have
been raised on it, the diabetes disappears.”23
Many other researchers have corroborated this evidence, not the least of whom was
Nathan Pritikin, whose work in the 1960s demonstrated that eighty percent of long-term
diabetics put on a low-fat diet could be taken off their medication entirely in less than
four weeks.
Fruit Is Not the Culprit
As I have stated repeatedly, consuming fruit does not cause blood-sugar problems, but
overeating fat does. If you remove the fat from the diet, in most cases blood-sugar levels
return to normal, as does pancreatic functioning. Restricting fruit from the diet is not the
cure. In fact, the opposite is true.
Doctors tell us, “You have diabetes. You will have it for the rest of your life. And
oh, by the way—you can no longer eat fruit.” This certainly does not sound like a
“healing profession” to me.
I have worked with many diabetics over the past twenty-five years. Of course, I
guided each person individually, according to his or her unique history. Though I use no
generic treatment plans, I do follow some general guidelines as I design each
individual’s program. In every instance, however, without exception, the use of a low-fat
raw vegan diet predominated by sweet fruit has resulted in stabilization of blood-sugar
metabolism. Most of my clients were able to completely eliminate their need for insulin
and other related drugs within a few weeks or less. No one was ever harmed, and I have
never seen any negative consequences resulting from these dietary changes.
You Mean I Really Can Eat Fruit?
Sure, eating fruit raises our blood sugar, but so does eating other foods. Complex
carbohydrates (cooked or raw) top the list of foods with the highest glycemic loads,
meaning that they cause the largest and most rapid spiking of blood-sugar levels.
A healthy person who eats whole fruits (as a single-ingredient “monomeal” or in
simple combination, as is recommended for all meals) will find that the sugar in fruits
passes easily into, and out off the bloodstream in minutes, and causes no abnormalities
in blood-sugar levels.
It is odd that we expect that fruit will give us problems but that complex
carbohydrates and sugary desserts will not. It is reminiscent of the person ordering a hot
fudge sundae with nuts, nougats, and whipped cream, who then says, “but hold the
cherry, I am on a diet.”
Fruit and Triglycerides
Some people think that triglycerides (a type of blood fat) increase as a result of the
elevated levels of blood sugar that occur when we eat fruit. This mistaken belief is what
led Nathan Pritikin to shun fruit (and therefore forced him to sanction the consumption
of complex carbohydrates, the only other substantial source of low-fat calories on a
vegan diet).
However, by now you should understand that eating whole, raw fruit only results in
sustained high blood sugar if you are also eating high fat. That is, elevated triglycerides
cannot arise from a blood-sugar condition that does not exist. A high-fruit, low-fat diet
has only a positive effect on triglycerides. Unfortunately, until Western scientists
conduct studies of low-fat, high-fruit vegans, we remain without “proof” of this simple
fact, other than that demonstrated by the health and elevated physical performance of the
people following such a diet.
Fruit and Cancer
More than a trillion dollars has been spent on cancer research during the past three
decades. Our longstanding “War on Cancer” has brought us no closer to a cure for cancer
today than we thought we were thirty years ago. Cancer is proving to be a disease of
lifestyle, environment, and culture, and not a condition caused by a microbe, germ, or
genetic factor. The “multifaceted causation theory” is gaining more popular acceptance,
yet researchers continue to look for one specific cause.
Almost every cancer research organization worldwide is supportive of the
consumption of fruit. It borders on amazing to think that a few relatively untrained
individuals would come out suggesting that fruit is detrimental to cancer patients. What
is more amazing is that people would pay attention to such individuals and even follow
their suggestions by eliminating fruit from their diet. Yet somehow a popular notion
among the mainstream warns that fruit is bad for anyone with cancer.
Worse yet, many misinformed raw food “experts”—theoretically the champions of
fruit and vegetable consumption—parrot the mainstream directive to avoid fruit … a
travesty that produces emaciated, unbalanced, binge-prone raw fooders who give the
movement a poor reputation.
Some allegedly scientific studies have concluded that uncontrollable and often
unhealthy weight loss is associated with the raw food diet and with the consumption of
fruit. The findings of these small-scale studies have strengthened the mainstream notion
that fruit is bad for anyone with cancer concerns. Unfortunately, the researchers who
designed many of the studies possessed extremely limited understanding of raw food
nutrition, and they reached their conclusions after studying subjects who were also
essentially inexperienced with the raw food diet. Few if any of these studies have
examined successful or long-term raw fooders.
The standard American diet tends to result in unwanted weight gain. Fruit
consumption helps to bring weight toward a healthy normal level (one that can appear
unhealthfully low to those accustomed to living among a population of mostly
overweight and obese individuals). Later in this book, I devote an entire chapter to the
topic of body weight, including a detailed discussion of the relationship between a highfruit diet and body weight.
Does Fruit Counteract Cancer Treatment Procedures?
The “success” of both chemotherapy and radiation treatments depends upon a lowering
of immune function in the body. Medical professionals know that people with suppressed
immunity can tolerate treatments that are otherwise completely unthinkable.
In pursuit of this goal, Western medicine sees fit to assault the beleaguered patient
with immunosuppressive drugs. Healthy immune function works against the doctors’
efforts. Without the suppression of immune function (essentially the lowering of
vitality), patients would have such acutely severe negative reactions to these
“treatments” as to make them intolerable.
Recognizing the immunity-strengthening qualities of fruit, I have heard of instances
where doctors recommend against its consumption for the very people who need it most.
Naturally, the real solution is to work with patients to build vigorous health so they never
find themselves in the intractable predicament of choosing between their vitality and
their life.
This is merely another example of the fragmented view of health. When medical
professionals have their blinders on, seeking only to eradicate disease with no mind
toward creating overall health in their patients, they produce bizarre and deadly shortsighted solutions.
The use of immunosuppressant drugs has been cited by some scientists as an actual
cause of our current epidemic of immunodeficiency diseases. Unfortunately, the
pharmaceutical industry today wields more power over public opinion than perhaps ever
before in history.
Does Fruit Acidify the Cancer Patient’s Body?
Cancer has been associated with an acidic condition in the body. No one has established
whether this acidity is a cause of the cancer, a body-generated defensive “effect,” or
simply an unrelated condition that accompanies the true cause(s) of cancer.
Many people mistakenly assume that the sugar in fruits, and especially the acid in
“acid fruits,” will acidify the body. The chemistry of digestion demonstrates that this is
not so. The mineral content of a food is the primary determining factor as to whether the
food produces an alkaline or an acid reaction in the body. Once the food has been
digested, if acid minerals predominate, as they do in meats and most nuts and seeds, for
instance, the food will be said to have an acid reaction in the body, or to be “acidforming.”
Since alkaline minerals predominate in almost all fruits, including the acid fruits, it
is safe to say that fruit has an alkalizing effect upon the body. Fruits may not be as
alkalizing as greens, but their reputation as acidifying foods is unfounded.
Cancer researchers have demonstrated that when cells in a petri dish are bathed in
an appropriate nutritive environment and the toxic waste products of their metabolism
are efficiently removed, healthy cells result. To date, it has not been possible to cause
cancer in these healthy cells no matter which carcinogens they are briefly exposed to.
We can translate this good news to humans, for whom the high-fruit 80/10/10 diet
represents, in my opinion, the ideal “appropriate nutritive environment” in which to
bathe the cells of our bodies. We cannot, however, expect to eat acid-forming foods like
cooked proteins, heated oils, and fried chips and remain cancer-free just because we also
eat large quantities of fruit and greens.
Acid-Alkaline Balance
Most of our body fluids and cells require a neutral to slightly alkaline environment
(a pH reading in the high-six to low-seven range) in order to be healthy. By design, even
if we live and eat very healthfully, our cells tend to acidify due to normal daily activities
and stresses. Nature in her infinite wisdom set it up so that our natural diet of alkalizing
raw fruits and vegetables would neutralize those acids.
If the vast majority of our foods are alkaline forming, we can easily live in a state of
balance, or homeostasis. (Meditation, yoga, biofeedback, and gentle exercise may reduce
acidity somewhat, but have not been shown to actually alkalize the body). However, if
we overwhelm our bodies with unnatural sources of acidity, there is no amount of raw
fruit and vegetables that can compensate.
What kinds of activities and practices acidify us in this way?
Consuming cooked foods, heated fats, animal-derived foods, grains (cooked or raw),
or more than a very small amount of nuts and seeds.
Eating poorly combined foods, cooked or raw.
Smoking or taking any drugs or stimulants, including caffeine.
Drinking alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee or tea.
Lack of exercise, insufficient rest and sleep.
Sustained stress, anger, fear, or other negative emotions.
Rather than eliminating the unhealthful foods and practices from their lives, some
people fall prey to salesmen who claim that juicing greens or grasses or consuming
highly concentrated “superfood” powders can provide enough concentrated alkalinity to
counteract an acidic condition in the body. Juices and superfoods, none of them whole
foods of our biological adaptation (despite marketing to the contrary), serve only to
create further imbalances, however. Only healthful living results in health … there is no
Does Fruit Feed Cancer Cells?
Cancer cells, like all other cells, use glucose as their primary fuel. But it is not possible
to starve cancer cells of their fuel without also starving all other cells, including vital
brain, heart, liver, and kidney cells. Of course, to do so would be counterproductive and
in fact, deadly.
Cancer cells thrive in an anaerobic environment, meaning one where the oxygen
content is very low. Eating a high-fat diet decreases the oxygen content of the blood and
tissues and creates an ideal environment for cancer cells to flourish. When we consume a
diet such as 80/10/10, which is high in simple carbohydrates and water, we effectively
raise the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, thus vastly reducing the likelihood that
we will create cancer.
The point is not to try to starve the cancer cells of their fuel, as that would
effectively kill the patient as well, but to create a well-oxygenated environment that is
inhospitable to the creation and subsequent survival of cancer cells.
Fruit and Acid Indigestion
The popular belief that fruit causes acid indigestion is another case in which a
nutritional misconception has mushroomed out of proportion and acquired mainstream
momentum. When a person eats a healthy, simple meal, it generally leaves the stomach
rapidly, usually in less than an hour. Difficult-to-digest foods can be held in the stomach
for twenty-four hours and longer.
When a person eats such foods for dinner, they are generally still sitting in his or
her stomach the next morning. Should he then have fruit for breakfast, an extremely
volatile and incompatible combination is formed, and acid stomach is often the result.
Not surprisingly, most people then blame the fruit they ate for the acid condition they
I call this the “kick the dog” reaction. Picture a man having a bad day at work,
getting a speeding ticket on the way home, and then running over his child’s bicycle as
he pulls in to the garage. The dog rushes to greet him and puts his paws on the man’s
pant leg. The man then kicks the dog as if the dog had been the cause of his entire bad
day. The dog was simply the last straw, but not the cause of the man’s troubles.
Similarly, fruit is not the cause of the indigestion problem but simply sheds light on the
fact that a poor food choice was made the night before.
Fruit and Tooth Decay
Funny thing about teeth—everybody’s got them and almost everybody has problems
with them. Ask a dentist what percentage of his or her patients have problems with their
teeth because they ate too much fruit. The percentage will be so low as to approach zero.
People have problems with their teeth for a wide variety of reasons, including these
Exposure to intense acids, such as the phosphoric acid in soft drinks, tannic acid in
tea, and the various acids in coffee erodes tooth enamel.
Fluoride in the water supply often results in eventual tooth decay (as well as other
serious health problems). The late Dr. John Yiamouyiannis wrote and spoke with
great courage and conviction about the significant dangers of fluoridation.24
Excess acidity in the bloodstream causes the body to seek stored alkaline minerals
(primarily calcium) to neutralize the acids. Eating highly acid-forming foods like
meats, dairy products, and grains elicits this intelligent bodily response. The acid
minerals in these foods can eventually cause erosion of tooth and bone structure, as
the body draws out calcium to neutralize them. (See “The Dangers of Eating More
Than 10% Protein.”).
Eating fruit, at least according to the old adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor
away,” is actually good for your teeth. So what is it about dentists, teeth, and fruit that
scares people? I think it is the fact that dentists don’t really understand the relationship
between nutrition and tooth decay all that well, yet they are asked to expound upon it
One dentist told a friend of mine that the reason she was having such severe dental
problems was that she ate too much fat. Another dentist told another friend that the
reason for her severe dental problems was that she ate too little fat. I have heard dentists
tell clients that they need to eat more carbohydrates, while others tell their clients to eat
fewer carbohydrates. One dentist told me that I was going to have tooth worries if I ate
any carbohydrate at all.
It appears that going to the dentist for nutritional information is not much different
than asking your local auto mechanic for financial advice. Dentists eat and mechanics
make money, but in neither case does that qualify them as experts in the field. Dentists
are experts at repairing decayed teeth. Essentially they are construction workers who
work on tiny job sites—filling potholes, building bridges, and the like. They are not
specialists in nutrition or the biochemistry of the mouth.
Dental Hygiene Itself Is a Culprit
So what exactly is it that results in tooth decay? Good evidence is emerging that much of
today’s tooth and gum disease is actually caused by the “preventative” procedures we
have been taught to give our teeth. Aggressive brushing of the gums can wear them
away, resulting in receding gums. Gums are soft and can decay quickly when treated
roughly. Receded gums expose the roots of the teeth, which have no enamel and hence no
protection from the acids in foods or those produced by bacteria.
Flossing the gums, rather than gently flossing only the spaces between the teeth, can
also be detrimental. Improper flossing can irritate the gums and result in unnatural
enlargement of the pockets between the teeth and gums. Food and microbes can then be
caught in these pockets and wreak havoc on teeth.
Even toothpaste can have a damaging effect upon the teeth. The particulate matter
in toothpaste that is designed to scrub the teeth can eventually wear through tooth
enamel. The particles in the toothpaste can lodge between tooth and gums, causing
irritation and resultant inflammation. Conservative dentists today recommend using only
a soft brush that has been wet with water to thoroughly clean teeth without damaging
Dehydrated Foods, Nuts, Complex Carbs, and Refined Sugars
It appears that dehydrated foods have the most profound negative effect on teeth, in
several different ways. Dried fruit qualifies as a refined carbohydrate, as the water has
been removed from what was once a whole food. In this fractional form, fruit is
extremely dry and sticky. It sticks aggressively to the first wet surface it contacts—your
teeth. Stuck in the crevices, crannies, and corners of teeth, dried fruit will eventually be
broken down by bacteria designed to do exactly that job.
The bacteria, unfortunately for your teeth, produce an extremely acidic metabolic
waste product, and they excrete that waste directly onto your teeth. The acid in the
bacterial “excrement” essentially dissolves your tooth enamel. This acid is extremely
damaging to the roots of teeth, should any be exposed. Continued exposure to this acid
will result in the development of tooth decay.
Nuts and seeds are rarely eaten fresh from the tree. In that state they have an
extremely short shelf life at room temperature. To make raw nuts and seeds last longer,
food packers dehydrate them so that they will not grow moldy on the shelf. Roasted nuts
are even further dehydrated. When we eat nuts and seeds, small particles of them remain
on and between our teeth.
The brain controls the pH (level of acidity) of the mouth by directing the type and
amount of digestive enzymes secreted by the salivary glands. The pH of the mouth is
usually in the alkaline range when we are in a healthy condition. After testing the saliva
of hundreds of clients after they ate nuts or seeds, I have found that the mouth often
becomes slightly acidic. This acid works to chemically break down the proteins in the
nut and seed particles while it also adversely affects the roots and the enamel of our
teeth. Once again, cavities eventually form.
Complex carbohydrates, as well as refined simple carbohydrates, stick to the teeth
in a similar fashion to dehydrated fruit. The bacteria that digest the carbohydrates also
produce acid waste products that corrode tooth enamel. Most complex carbohydrate
foods are acid-forming foods.
Fruits and Vegetables for Healthy Teeth
The solution to healthy teeth and gums is the solution to health overall. Healthful living
has no contraindications. Whole, fresh, ripe, raw fruits and vegetables are excellent
foods for teeth and gums. Our dental structure, as well as the rest of our anatomy and
physiology, are all designed for fruits and vegetables.
Granted, someone could argue, “But what if you sucked lemons all day, wouldn’t
that be bad for your teeth?” Yes, sucking lemons all day long is likely to harm your
teeth, but who would want to do that? Just use some common sense, and by all means—
enjoy your fruit!
Chapter 3. Raw Food for Ultimate Health
Unheated or raw foods are the natural and optimal choice for the cellular health of
all creatures. One of the major differences between people and the other animals on
planet Earth is that we cook our food and they do not. Where our health is concerned,
this is not a good thing.
Raw foods make a lot of common sense, and the sciences completely support the
raw food concept. Unfortunately, the doctors and scientists who study nutrition, for the
most part, are cooked food eaters, and they see the world through a cooked food
perspective. They cannot see beyond their accustomed view to envision another
approach. The very idea of a diet of all raw foods is unthinkable to most of them. Rarely
do they even consider it.
These professional men and women spend a good deal of their time coming up with
scientific arguments to support the way of life to which they are accustomed. Common
sense does not support cooking, however, as not a single creature other than man cooks
its food. In general, the animals that suffer from degenerative “human” diseases are
domesticated or caged ones that are routinely fed cooked food by their human
If we observe nature, we will find that all creatures are born with or develop
everything they need to secure their natural food. No human has yet been born with a
stove on his back or the keys to a tractor in her hand.
The Folly of Cooking Food to Kill Microbes
Prior to and throughout most of the 19th century, fresh fruit was a very popular food
item, and people did not eat the high percentage of cooked food that they currently do. In
fact, the raw food movement was almost as big 120 years ago as it is today, if not more
so. But the whole concept was essentially shot down with a single word: germs.
After scientist Louis Pasteur (1822–1895) published his “germ theory of disease” in
1878, fear of microbes developed into a full-blown phobia for many people (one that
lives on—and continues to grow—to this day). This fear led the medical fraternity to
suggest that all foods be cooked, for the safety of the consumer. People began cooking
their apples, their tomatoes … essentially everything they ate. Due to the overwhelming
power of doctors to influence society, cooking fruit became the norm.
Pasteur’s untenable theory lives on as the foundation that underlies the medical
model of disease and healing. Society accepts it as truth, despite the fact that it is fraught
with inconsistencies. In more than one hundred years, the germ theory of disease has yet
to be proved as fact … while having been disproved repeatedly by Koch’s postulates.
Koch’s Postulates
The famous nineteenth-century bacteriologist Robert Koch set forth the following
set of four logical rules, all of which must be satisfied to prove that a particular microbe
or germ is the cause of a particular disease.25
1. The germ must be present in every case of the disease, but not in healthy
2. It must be isolated from the patient and grown in vitro (culture).
3. It must be introduced to a susceptible new host and in that host produce the
original disease.
4. The same agent must be isolated once again from the experimentally
infected host.
This line of logic, long held as the gold standard for identifying infectious diseases,
is the minimal evidence necessary to have confidence in the existence of a pathogen and
its causal link to a disease.
The germ theory of disease is destined to remain a theory forever, for it takes very
little effort to find evidence refuting Koch’s postulates. Here are two of the more
obvious examples:
Healthy people often harbor the germs that are said to cause one disease or another,
while remaining totally symptom free.
This fact stands in opposition to postulate #1.
Conversely, many people with a given disease have been shown not to be hosting the
alleged “causative agent,” also refuting postulate #1.
The story of Pasteur’s life and illustrious career is fascinating. After years of debate
with colleagues, he is said to have capitulated from his deathbed, admitting that
microbes are not the primary and sufficient cause of disease. Rather, he acquiesced, a
toxic “milieu interieur”—the inner environment of the body in which the microbes live
—provides a breeding ground for disease. In other words, regardless of the germ’s origin
or type, it presents far less threat than commonly believed, unless the body is in a rundown state resulting from a disturbed and deteriorated interior environment.
Maintaining our inner terrain in a healthy (undisturbed and undeteriorated) state of
homeostasis is one of the key benefits we derive from eating a low-fat diet of whole, raw
plant foods in their freshest, least processed form. Just as mosquitoes do not cause
stagnant ponds and flies do not cause piles of manure, the “germs” (bacteria, viruses, and
other microorganisms) around and inside of us do not cause the toxins in our bodies. Yet
like mosquitoes and flies, microbes are more than happy to set up shop in toxic locations
that provide them with plenty to eat.
If we drain the stagnant pond or clean up the manure pile, the mosquitoes and flies
migrate elsewhere. Likewise, the viruses and bacteria that feed upon the toxic wastes
inside of us simply move on and cease to be a problem when we clean up our diets and
other sources of inner pollution. At this point, our bodies are no longer capable of acting
as hosts for such pathogens.
To do justice to Pasteur’s story, or to expound upon the fallacies of germ theory, are
beyond the scope of this book. But you can find detailed accounts of both of these topics
in many publications. One excellent source is a book by Ross Horne, entitled Health &
Survival in the 21st Century.26
What’s the Big Deal About Cooking?
It is true … people have been setting fire to their food for millennia, and we seem to
be doing fine. So what’s the big deal about cooking?
Experiments have shown that people can survive on diets as restricted as flour and
water, at least for a period of time, but they cannot thrive on such a regimen. This is a
testament to the nutritional reserves, resilience, and vitality of the body, not to the
nutritional value of the food. The difference between “normal health” and actually
thriving is vast.
Historically, as pre-human hominids moved away from the tropics, they started
eating the (cooked) flesh of animals and experimenting with foods such as (cooked)
tubers and other complex carbohydrates to substitute for unavailable fruits and
vegetables. Evidence tells us this practice has been going on for at least 200,000 years.
However, it was only with the advent of grain agriculture, in the past 10,000 years, that
we began deriving the vast majority of our calories from cooked carbohydrates.27 Even if
we have biologically adapted to this practice, it would be hard to argue that our basic
digestive physiology, like that of every other creature on the planet, was designed for the
raw foods found in nature. Any adaptations to the nutritional losses or the toxins created
by cooking foods could only be considered “devolution,” rather than evolution.
Many foods that are cooked, such as meats and grains, would otherwise be
unappetizing or inedible to humans. Cooking allows foods to bypass sensory safeguards
that would normally protect us from ingesting unnatural and unhealthful substances.
Essentially, cooking makes it possible for us to eat (and to call “good”) food we would
otherwise consider to have gone “bad.” On certain rare occasions, cooking might enable
us to sustain ourselves on the only foods available to us. To be sure, however, we pay
with our health when we cook foods as a regular practice.
High Fat
High fat content is another common problem with cooked foods. In particular, meats,
grains, and other starchy foods often contain far more fat than is healthful.
The fat is not always visible, however. It is absorbed into starchy foods in the
cooking process. Fried potatoes don’t look fatty; we like to think of them as a
carbohydrate food. Yet the average serving of french fries provides about half of its
calories from fat. Apple pie, you would think, is all carbohydrate, right? It is made of
sugar and apples and a grain-based crust, all high-carbohydrate foods. Think again, as
this delicacy tips the scale at 50% of calories from fat. Not even a baked potato qualifies
as a low-fat food, once we add butter or sour cream.
Fat is hidden in the structure of animal foods. The fat content of meat varies by cut,
but the majority of meats are very high in fat.
Toxicity and Disease
To varying degrees, the different methods of cooking introduce toxic substances that the
body must eliminate. The repeated consumption of cooked food results in a detrimental
enlargement of the pancreas, as well as damage to the liver, heart, thyroid gland,
adrenals, and most other organs, as a result of toxic exposure combined with reduced
oxygen availability.
Eating cooked food has also been shown to provoke degenerative changes in almost
all aspects of blood chemistry. These changes usually reverse rapidly when exposure to
cooked food is eliminated.
Studies have shown that our immunes system often reacts to the introduction of
cooked food to the bloodstream the same way it does to foreign pathogens such as
bacteria, viruses, and fungi: The body literally attacks the food, sending an army of white
blood cells to do the job. This phenomenon, which has been linked with the eventual
development of AIDS, does not occur when we eat raw foods.
A direct cause-and-effect correlation exists between the cooked food diet and
American culture’s two main killers, cancer and heart disease. Many of these
relationships have been documented for decades, and the evidence is mounting. Obesity,
too, is directly associated with cooking our food. Heated foods are nutritionally inferior,
which is one of the reasons people commonly overeat cooked food. Their stomachs feel
full, but their cells crave nutrients and remain nutritionally starved.
To escape the destruction of cooked food, one must be willing to recognize that, as a
culture, we have been eating ourselves into poor health, early death, and disease-ridden
old age. Americans consume ever-increasing amounts of cooked, processed food while
worrying about the sharp increase in obesity and juvenile diabetes and the staggering
cost of their ever-increasing healthcare needs. Few people seem to be connecting the dots
publicly, but as these problems become larger social issues, I predict they will soon hit
critical mass.
Cooking Damages Nutrients
The damage done to food when it is cooked provides enough material for a separate
book. Cooking renders food a bit like Humpty Dumpty after he fell off the wall, in that
once a food is cooked it can never be, nutritionally, what it was before. Foods can only
withstand about as much heat as your hand—or the roof of your mouth—can take before
their nutrients are irrevocably damaged. Let’s take a look at some examples.
It makes sense that we would want to derive the full nutritional benefit from the protein
foods we eat. But few people realize that high-temperature cooking denatures the
proteins in foods, fusing the amino acids together with enzyme-resistant bonds that
preclude them from being fully broken down, thus rendering the proteins substantially
useless—and in fact toxic—to us. All proteins that we consume must be broken down
into single, individual amino acids before they can be of any use to us; our bodies cannot
use “protein” for any purpose whatsoever.
Definition of “Denature”
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition defines “denature” as
follows (emphasis added):
de•na•ture verb transitive to modify the molecular structure of (as a protein or
DNA) esp. by heat, acid, alkali, or ultraviolet radiation so as to destroy or diminish some
of the original properties and esp. the specific biological activity. ©1997, 1996 Zane
Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
Hair is primarily protein. A strand of hair can be rolled into a ball and then pulled
back into a strand. However, if a strand of hair is rolled into a ball and then held over a
candle flame, even for just a moment, chemistry happens. The hair literally attaches to
itself in new places. It can never be returned to its original form as a strand. When an egg
hits a frying pan, a similar irreversible chemical change takes place. Our digestive
enzymes cannot easily break down coagulated protein molecules once they fuse together.
The best they can accomplish is partial breakdown, into polypeptides.
The body recognizes clumps of partially broken down proteins, known as
polypeptides, as foreign invaders to be attacked, contained, and eliminated through the
kidneys. The cell walls of the kidneys do not allow for easy transport of these substances,
and their buildup causes the distress that leads to kidney stones and eventually to kidney
failure. Undigested proteins also produce allergies, arthritis, leaky gut syndrome, and
other autoimmune disorders.
We must heat starchy carbohydrates to “dextrinize” them, thus facilitating their
breakdown into glucose. Unfortunately, heating caramelizes these complex carbohydrate
foods, fusing their molecules into a sticky, molasses-like goo. (Dextrin and starch are the
two principal vegetable-based adhesives, commonly used as glue for corrugated
packaging and wallpaper.) The body can realize only perhaps 70% of the energy
potential of cooked starchy foods.
This melting of sugar molecules occurs in carbohydrate-based foods subjected to
cooking temperatures whether or not we witness it, and it causes them to produce an
extremely high glycemic response in the body. Blood-sugar levels predictably spike after
we eat cooked carbohydrate foods, especially grains that have had their fiber refined out
of them. Heat the carbohydrates further and they will char, or blacken, as happens to
burnt toast. This blackened carbohydrate is toxic, a known carcinogen.
The digestion of cooked complex carbohydrates is typically impaired by the fatty
and sugary foods with which they are consumed, leading to fermentation. The byproducts
of fermentation are gas, alcohol, and acetic acid. Alcohol is a protoplasmic poison that
kills every cell with which it comes into contact. Acetic acid in its pure form is a known
poison. When diluted with 19 parts water, it is called vinegar. The acetic acid in vinegar
is still toxic, regardless of dilution.
Of great concern, mainstream science is tying itself in knots over a lethal poison,
called “acrylamide,” recently discovered to be produced in high-carbohydrate foods by
the chemistry of cooking. This potent chemical killer was found in high concentrations
in the food supply in 2002 by a Swedish researcher. High levels of acrylamide are found
most prominently in bread, chips, crackers, french fries, and other dry-cooked
carbohydrates. See the FAQ entitled, “How important is it to eat organically grown
food?” on page 251 for information about this grave toxin in the food supply.
All manner of nutritional and health problems occur when fats are heated. Heated fats
interfere with cell respiration, leading to cancer and heart disease. Heating fats also
reduces the functional value of their antioxidant properties.
Once fats have been cooked, they quickly go rancid, at which point they become
carcinogenic. Thus, it’s important to understand that while even freshly roasted nuts are
harmful for us, they become more so the longer they sit out. The longer fatty foods are
exposed to oxygen, the more their nutrients become deranged. Keeping raw dehydrated
fat-based crackers unrefrigerated for days or weeks (not to mention months or years!) is
not such a good idea, either.
Many high-temperature methods of cooking (deep frying, broiling, roasting,
barbecuing to a char, etc.) cause fats to produce carcinogenic substances including
acrolein, hydrocarbons, nitrosamines, and benzopyrene, which is one of the most virulent
carcinogens known to man. Frying temperatures range from about 400 to 1,000 F.
When unsaturated vegetable fats and oils are heated to such temperatures (and especially
when polyunsaturated oils are repeatedly reheated, as in fast-food deep-fry
establishments), their naturally occurring “cis” bonds are converted to “trans” bonds,
creating trans fatty acids. Trans fats are recognized as one of the most dangerous dietary
health hazards of our time.
Food manufacturers “hydrogenate” unsaturated fats to extend shelf life and improve
food texture by heating them and exposing them to hydrogen while they are under
pressure. Ingested saturated fats are of no use to us, and they seriously clog arteries and
capillaries, reducing oxygen delivery to every part of the body.
If you must eat heated fats, I implore you to begin reading food labels and steer
clear of foods where saturated fat is more than 20% of the total fat. Also avoid foods that
list any hydrogenated oils (partially or otherwise) among their ingredients.
In terms of volume, water is our greatest nutrient need—second only to oxygen. Cooking
drives water out of food and alters it drastically. Dehydration oxidizes the nutrients in
food, and their nutrient value is duly degraded. We cannot eat cooked or dehydrated
foods and then make up for the water and nutrients lost by drinking water, juices, or any
other “supplement.” Doing so simply does not compare to eating a daily diet
predominated by whole, water-rich foods. Fruits and vegetables are nature’s perfect
water filters, and the water within them is the purest available on Earth. All efforts to
purify or “structure” our drinking water are merely attempts to replicate the water we
were designed to ingest in our raw fruits and vegetables.
Ask yourself: Just how whole is a food that has had its water removed? Soberingly,
the water in our foods is vital and definitely not to be considered expendable. We should
feel duly concerned if high-water foods do not heavily predominate in our diet.
Dehydrated raw foods and powdered “whole-food” supplements are not whole foods, nor
are they as nutritious as their whole-food counterparts.
Most other nutrients—vitamins, enzymes, coenzymes, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and
fiber are damaged or devitalized by the heating process, leaving behind “foods” with
substantially empty calories.
The Lycopene Myth
Applying heat to foods provides no nutritional benefit and is detrimental to the
person ingesting the cooked food. A few examples exist where, by heating food, certain
nutrients are more easily released and more bioavailable to our cells. The lycopene in
tomatoes and the iron and beta-carotene in vegetables are often-cited examples.
However, taking this viewpoint ignores the fact that hundreds of thousands of
identified and not-yet-identified nutrients in the heated foods are damaged by the heat.
For every nutrient that becomes more bioavailable due to the cooking process, countless
other nutrients become less so. We don’t know for certain, however, that even the ones
that become more available are doing us any favors once altered by heat.
More important, this viewpoint assumes that more of a nutrient is better, instead of
trusting that Nature has provided the perfect balance of nutrients we need for optimal
health in the fresh, raw plant foods we eat.
Benefits of Eating Raw
If you adopt a natural diet of raw foods, your body can easily cope with cleansing
itself of past toxic accumulations and normalize its weight. Here are some of the benefits
you can expect:
Maximum nutrition: Even those who never question the practice of cooking food
have to admit having heard that we discard vitamins when we drain our vegetable
cooking water. Sadly, vitamins are not the only nutritional casualty caused by
setting fire to our food. To varying degrees, heating food for any appreciable
amount of time above a comfortable eating temperature (approximately 105 F)
damages most every category of nutrients. Western science is only beginning to
recognize the nutritional damage done by the cooking of food.
Detoxification: A major benefit of eating unprocessed raw food is that the body’s
vital energy is freed up for healing and cleansing. When you stop eating cooked
foods, you stop abusing your body at each meal with toxic, dehydrating residue that
it must work hard to eliminate. When your liver and kidneys do less work
detoxifying you, they are free to keep your system cleaner, making for a healthier
Quick digestion: A proper raw diet eliminates constipation, and the transit time of
waste matter shortens to 24 hours or less, eliminating the toxemia that occurs as the
colon recycles toxins. Most people on the standard American diet experience transit
times of 72 hours or more, during which time their food ferments and putrefies
inside them. The resulting foul gas and unpleasant-smelling feces highlight the
putrefaction caused by anaerobic bacteria breaking down undigested proteins in the
colon. These rotting proteins are said to lead to various forms of colon disease,
including polyps, colitis, and cancer.
Overall improved health and energy: Many people on a raw diet (even the highfat way) lose some excess weight and experience clearer sinuses, improved
breathing, better sleep, clearer skin, less mucous discharge, increased energy, and
heightened mental clarity.
Additional Benefits of Eating Raw the Low-Fat Way
Oxygenated cells: Cleaner blood and healthier red blood cells better transport fresh
oxygen to all the cells in the body, resulting in heightened mental clarity and
allowing subtle healing to take place within the body that may not be easily noticed.
Optimal body weight: If you follow the raw vegan version of the 80/10/10 diet to
the letter, including the elimination of all forms of salt and condiments, you will
lose any remaining excess fat and water weight, but not healthy lean tissue. It’s
important to make sure you’re eating enough calories, however, as foods with fewer
calories per bite require more bites. (See Chapter 10) If you need to put on weight,
this plan supplies you with the fuel to undertake the weight-bearing exercise that
adds muscle—which is something no food can do (see Chapter 9. ).
Ultimate well-being and vitality: People who take their diets “all the way” to lowfat raw vegan (80/10/10rv) experience markedly fewer colds, flus, and aches than
people who eat a high-fat diet, raw or cooked. Acne disappears, and permanent
relief from persistent diabetes and candida symptoms finally occurs. More
important, people on this program have the opportunity (given proper sleep,
exercise, sunshine, and so on) to experience a quantum leap in overall physical,
mental, and emotional health that surpasses the mere absence of disease or
symptoms. The ultimate benefit is greater longevity and improved quality of life.
Making the Transition
The switch from cooked to raw is actually a fairly easy one. It is simply a matter of
increasing the percentage of raw foods in your diet. Some people find it easiest to begin
by simply eating raw for breakfast while leaving everything else the same as always.
When they get comfortable with that, they add in raw lunches as well. In time, the raw
dinner becomes a realistic challenge. Other folks prefer to start meals raw but finish with
cooked, gradually increasing the amount of raw food that is eaten at the beginning of the
meal until finally they are eating some meals that are completely raw.
Eventually, you will come to love the raw foods and their effects upon the way you
look and feel. Once you start to experience the results, your motivation level will rise
dramatically, and it will become ever easier to continue increasing the percentage of raw
foods that you eat.
At some point, you may begin to question why you are still eating the cooked foods
at all. Sure, you love them; the question is, do they love you back? Cooked foods
eventually show themselves for what they truly are: health destroyers. Though you may
find that you have many emotional attachments to your cooked food, in due time you
will come to no longer look at cooked food as a “treat.”
“Detox” Symptoms: Cause for Celebration
Many people experience temporary symptoms of detoxification when they begin a
raw diet, as the body is no longer being overloaded each day with so much toxic residue.
The symptoms arise as the body cleanses and heals naturally, releasing toxins into the
bloodstream that may have been buried deep within tissues and organs for many years.
The body is wise, however, and it always eliminates toxins in a way that requires the
least effort and does itself the least harm.
Detoxification symptoms are generally mild but can range from uncomfortable to
downright miserable. They are really a cause for celebration, however, as any discomfort
in the present is sure to be less severe and of shorter duration than the dis-ease it would
have become in the future.
Such symptoms often include tiredness, runny nose, headaches, digestive
challenges, weight loss, skin conditions, and drops in blood pressure. Less common but
not unusual are diarrhea, vomiting, and all manner of retracing phenomena
(reexperiencing past symptoms to complete a healing process that was interrupted by
medical intervention or other forms of treatment). All of these and other symptoms are
indications that the body is making healthy adjustments.
Initially, intestinal gas problems may arise in people who have damaged digestive
tracts. The intestines can hold food in little “outpockets,” out of the main flow. There,
stagnant foods may ferment or putrefy and cause gas. Over time, the gas will diminish as
the intestines heal. Long-term gas problems on the raw vegan diet are generally
corrected by being attentive to proper food combining.
Most of what is called “detox” is actually just the reaction of a body that is no
longer being irritated or stimulated—effectively “forced” to function. The secondary
effect of stimulation is sedation. Thus it is common to feel tired when a person first
attempts the raw diet. It is not that the raw diet is making them tired; it is that they are
actually “coming down” off of the influence of coffee, refined sugars, meats, and other
stimulating foods.
The Law of Dual Effect
The Law of Dual Effect states that those substances, influences, forces, and
conditions to which the body is subjected result in two responses by the body:
The primary effect is the more acute of the two, and the shorter lasting.
The secondary effect is less intense, but it lasts longer.
When we drink coffee, for instance, the primary effect is one of stimulation. The
secondary effect is only visible after the primary effect has worn off. In this instance, the
secondary effect of coffee is to leave us even more tired than we were before drinking
the coffee. With our fractured view of health, we tend to look only at the primary effect
or acute influence of such a substance while ignoring the secondary effect or chronic
Each person is unique; therefore, the duration and degree of detoxification will
vary. Detox can be intense or mild, and can last from a few days to several years,
depending on the individual’s health, vitality, environment, and the degree to which one
follows a healthy lifestyle.
We must also remember that we live in a constant state of retoxifying and
detoxifying. In the course of our day, we absorb environmental toxins, and the body
works to eliminate them. We ingest foods, even the best sort, and the body creates toxic
waste as a result of its cellular metabolism. This toxin production is not cause for worry,
however, because we are equipped with kidneys and a liver—eliminative organs
designed to rid ourselves of these toxins. Should these organs become overloaded, the
skin, lungs, bowels, mucous membranes, and other areas of the body are equipped to help
handle the toxic load.
Which Road Do You Choose to Travel?
Eating raw poses many challenges, of that there is no doubt. But the benefits of this
way of eating so far outweigh the negatives that little room exists for argument against
eating raw.
If we are honest with ourselves, there is simply no room for cooked food if we
desire a vibrantly healthy existence. It is like any other journey. If you are going down
the road that is taking you where you want to go, you will likely continue to follow it. If
you find yourself going down a road that will not bring you to your desired destination,
of course you will switch roads.
At your chosen speed, cooked food can increasingly become a thing of your past.
There is no hurry; you can cross that bridge when you come to it. Even then, you are not
making an irreversible decision. In any case, I guarantee that after a year of eating lowfat raw vegan food, should you choose to revert to your old style of eating, the high-fat
cooked foods will still be available.
But don’t be surprised if you discover that the 80/10/10 raw vegan diet is the sweet
road to well-rounded health and happiness.
Our Natural Diet: A Summary
In this age of junk food, manufactured foods, and agrochemicals, the issue of food
quality has become increasingly important for those who seek long, productive, vital
lives. The relationship of health to diet is becoming ever more profoundly obvious, and
more and more people are looking to increase the quality of their food than ever before.
The market for organically grown foods is growing rapidly, and farmer’s markets are
proliferating like never before as more and more of us are waking up to the necessity of a
high-produce lifestyle for health and longevity.
Many years ago, the great health educator T.C. Fry, organized his thoughts on how
to make the finest food choices and came up with these four excellent guidelines. I have
reproduced these timeless words of wisdom here, as a fitting summary to this chapter.
Criteria for Selecting the Highest-Quality Foods
By T.C. Fry
First Criterion
Can the food be eaten in its natural state? Is the food palatable, that is, delectable or
delicious? Can it be eaten with keen relish in its natural state?
If a food cannot be eaten with joy and delight to individuals in normal good health
who have an unperverted sense of taste, then the food must be considered to be of low
quality. Eating should be a gustatory delight. If a whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic food is
a taste delight, it is perfect. Its quality is reduced commensurate with the reduction in
If the food cannot be ingested in its natural state—that is, uncooked, unprocessed
and otherwise untampered with—it does not belong in the human diet. We humans were
for millions of years adapted to a diet obtained directly from nature in its fresh raw
natural state. There have been no adaptations noted in human physiology to the
consumption of cooked, processed, or otherwise devitalized foods. This determines the
character of our diet and also the manner in which we were accustomed to ingesting it.
Therefore, cooking and processing foods to make them palatable is unacceptable to
the health enthusiast. Cooking destroys enzymes totally. While a healthy individual will
synthesize some 1,000 enzymes required for digestion, assimilation, and utilization of
foods, the body is, nevertheless, dependent upon the enzymatic action of the foods for
the most perfect digestion. Consequently, it is absolutely essential that our foods have
their full complement of enzymes intact.
Cooking is the worst “health” practice that humans have ever adopted. It destroys
not only the enzymes but deranges and destroys almost all known food factors. Cooking
disorganizes, oxidizes and makes nonusable a food’s mineral content. It deaminates the
food’s protein content, thus rendering it worthless in human nutrition. Cooking reduces
the value of a food from its wholesome state all the way down to worthless ashes,
depending on the degree of cooking to which it has been subjected.
To the extent that a food has been cooked––reduced to inorganic minerals,
caramelized sugars and starches, coagulated and deaminated proteins, poisonous
acrolein-laden fats, devitalized vitamins, and the like––it is not only worthless, but the
ash becomes toxic debris in the body.
That cooked foods are poisonous in the body is easily demonstrable. White blood
cells function as janitors in the blood. A normal white count is around 3 million. If toxic
substances enter the bloodstream, the white blood cell count will rise, rapidly and
dramatically, in order to clean up the blood. After eating a cooked meal, the white count
typically rises as high as 15 or even 18 million, and even higher. After eating a meal of
raw fruit, there is usually no discernable rise in the white count. So the rule is this: If we
can’t eat the food “raw,” if it is not delicious and palatable in its natural living state, it is
not a food for us.
Second Criterion
Does the food introduce harmful or toxic substances into our digestive system?
If the food is proper to the human diet it must contain no noxious or unwelcome
substances. We do not want poisons in our system, no matter how little or how “mild.”
Anything that interferes with vital activities or destroys cells and tissue is poisonous to
our system.
[Author’s note: Since the time of this writing, science has progressed remarkably.
We now know that various toxins exist even in the most preferable of foods. Terry was
correct in his concept, however; just the wording was off. I believe that today he would
likely replace the thought of “no” toxins with the reality of “the lowest possible
Third Criterion
Is the food easy of digestion and assimilation?
Foods to which we humans are ideally adapted require a minimum of vital energy
for their digestion and assimilation. To be of greatest value to us, foods must be
efficiently digested and assimilated, granting, of course, that we have unimpaired
digestive systems.
Humans have become highly efficient at digesting and assimilating foods to which
they, in nature, became adapted. Millions of years of development made certain foods
very easy of digestion—we developed constitutions, enzymes, and processes that
appropriated, digested and assimilated certain foods with a minimum expenditure of
vital resources and time.
The water and sugars of fruit, which make up almost its entire digestible portion,
require virtually no digestion whatever. They simply require absorption. Shortly after
their absorption, they are very easily and rapidly assimilated.
Fourth Criterion
Does the food contribute a broad range of nutrients? Does the food possess great
biological value for us?
Though many foods are rather complete in their range of nutrients, none is suitable
for a “mono diet” such as grass is for cattle. But most of the fruits and vegetables are
quite suitable for “monomeals.” And, certainly, if properly combined, these foods
furnish all the nutrients we humans need.
The objective is not that we should eat a great variety in hopes of getting all the
nutrients needed, but rather to eat simply to afford our bodies every opportunity to easily
digest and assimilate what the foods offer. What does it matter the range of nutrients we
put into our bodies if we ingest them in such manner as to vitiate and tax the digestive
process? We can compromise digestion such that we fail to derive the goodness
intended. Thus we would penalize our bodies and rob them of nutrients as well.
We should never take more than four or five foods at a single properly prepared and
combined meal. Almost no preparation other than cleansing is necessary, but we must
make sure to eat in strictly compatible combinations. The ideal is a single food per meal!
There is no particular penalty in eating two to four different items at a meal if they are
compatible in the digestive process.
To really simplify the digestive process and to assure ourselves of easy digestion on
a continuing basis, we may select a rather narrow range of foods according to the season
and stick with them. For instance, we may make one meal a day of just bananas with
some lettuce and celery and another meal of a salad with citrus and nuts. This can go on
day after day in the winter season. In summer we might have melon rather consistently
for just one meal and at a second meal of the day, mangos, peaches, or other summer
fruit and a green salad with tomato. The objective is to eat a diet to which we are
biologically adapted, that gives the highest potential for wonderful health.
Green leaves possess the highest and most complete range of micronutrients. This is
one of the primary reasons we must have them often in our diet for the best health. Of
course the body is provident––missing them on occasion is not particularly harmful and
would not prove disastrous unless we missed them for some length of time, usually
months or more.
While we do not spell out the nutrient contents of various foods––that knowledge
not being necessary––we should plan our meals so that we receive the benefit of foods
that complement each other in their nutrient contents essential in human nutrition. A
variety of fruits and vegetables eaten throughout the year will easily guarantee
nutritional sufficiency.
Chapter 4. Understanding the Caloronutrient Ratio
We get our calories from three sources: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. I refer to these
as “caloronutrients,” a term my wife (who at that time was known as Professor Rozalind
Gruben) and I coined. Thus, I refer to the proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats
in a person’s diet as their “caloronutrient ratio.” You will see these terms used
throughout this book. For consistency, I list all ratios in my writings in the same order:
carbohydrates/proteins/fats (CPF for short), separated by slashes. Thus, “80/10/10” is
shorthand for 80% carbohydrates, 10% protein, and 10% fat.
“Goldilocks” Nutrition
I believe we benefit from fat—and all other nutrients—in appropriate, moderate
amounts. In this book, I propose that too much of a good thing (in this case fat) is as
harmful, and in many cases much more harmful, than not enough. I call it the
“Goldilocks” approach to nutrition: for best results, you don’t want too much of any
nutrient and you don’t want too little; you want the amount to be “ju-u-ust right.”
80/10/10 for Health, Beauty, Energy
That amount, I assert—at least in terms of caloronutrients—turns out to be
80/10/10: a minimum of 80% of your calories from carbohydrates, primarily from whole,
sweet fruit, and a maximum of 10% protein and 10% fat.
On the 80/10/10 plan, a person who eats 2,000 calories a day would shoot for
approximately 1,600 of those calories to come from carbohydrates, 200 from protein,
and 200 from fat. Naturally, not all sources of these nutrients are the same, and I have
devoted much of this book to discussing just what forms those caloronutrients should
take for best results.
After two decades of research, coaching amateur and professional athletes, and
assisting health seekers worldwide, I have come to believe that 80/10/10 is the overall
target for long-term health and dietary success. When we consume our food in this
proportion—the one for which our species was designed—we enjoy glowing health,
superb energy, and ideal body weight, effortlessly.
Sometimes in my lectures, I simplify this formula even further, referring to it in
shorthand form as 811—as in “Dial 811 for the healthiest, trimmest you!” This short
form is commonly used in conversation, e-mail, and my online discussion group, as you
will notice in the testimonials in Appendix C.
80/10/10 for Longevity
Eating foods of low caloric density, such as fruits and vegetables, has been cited as
a probable method of extending longevity. Experts in the field of human longevity have
long held that refraining from overeating is the surest method of extending the lifespan,
as it most effectively reduces the likelihood of obesity. Obese people live shorter lives,
on average.
One very healthful method of not overeating is to increase caloric demand by
raising activity levels while eating primarily fruits and vegetables, foods that are
relatively low in calories per bite.
Long-Lived Cultures Eat High Carbs, Low Fat
In John Robbins’ new book, Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the
World’s Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples , he describes the lifestyles and eating
patterns of the long-lived cultures of Abkhasia (Russia), Vilcabamba (Ecuador), and
Hunza (Pakistan). This table is taken from Robbins’ book:
The Abkhasians, Vilcabambans, and Hunzakuts have traditionally consumed high
carbohydrates and little fat mostly out of necessity, eating strictly from the foods that
have been available to them. They have done so naturally, without any science to guide
them and without options for choosing or adjusting their caloronutrient ratio.
The Ratio for Humans … By Design
People ask me how the 80/10/10 diet can apply equally well to people of all ages,
sizes, activity levels, etc. “Aren’t we all individuals, with different nutritional
requirements and different bodily makeups?” they ask.
Despite all the hype about metabolic typing, I do not believe this ratio varies to any
appreciable degree on the basis of our individual needs. (See the FAQ entitled “What
about individual differences?” on page 235.)
Like high-performance race cars, the human body is designed to get its best results
from a very specific fuel mixture. Think about it: Can you find any example in nature of
a mammalian species whose individual members eat foods from completely different
categories, based upon their blood type, their geographical location, their metabolic type,
or any other factor? Can you imagine a “kapha” bear eating more fat than a “pitta” bear?
Or a “fast-oxidizing” monkey avoiding bananas because they are too high in sugar? This
is nonsense.
The fact is, Nature has seen fit to provide the ideal food for every creature on Earth,
and all creatures of similar type eat similarly. For example, horses—and all creatures
that look like horses (zebras, donkeys, mules)—eat from essentially the same category of
foods—those for which their biological systems were designed. Do not let anyone tell
you that humans are the one exception to this rule (called the Law of Similars) in all of
the animal kingdom, for there are no exceptions: Animals that are anatomically and
physiologically similar thrive on similar foods. Cows eat grass, leopards eat meat, and
hummingbirds eat nectar. There is simply no need to complicate this simple program,
presented in perfection by nature in thousands of examples.
All of the creatures that are anatomically and physiologically like us (known as the
anthropoid primates: gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, and bonobos) thrive on a low-fat
diet that is predominated by fruits and vegetables. Their caloronutrient ratios closely
approximate 80/10/10. With the exception of the gorilla, whose great weight makes it
almost impossible to climb the skinny branches of trees to procure fruit, they get more
than 80% of their calories from the carbohydrates in fruit. The combined caloronutrient
average for chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans is about 88/7/5. Add in the gorilla’s
numbers, which come closer to 70% carbohydrate, and the average decreases, making the
ratio almost exactly 80/10/10 for all of our anthropoid relatives.
The actual foods humans eat differ according to season, geography, availability,
personal preference, etc., but not according to anything pertaining to our physiology. The
total number of calories each person needs varies according to many factors, including
gender, size, age, activity level, fitness goals, health status, and so forth. But the ratio of
carbohydrates to protein to fats we need remains relatively the same. This is true
regardless of the dietary specifics, food choices, or total volume consumed. As I explain
in Chapter 5, no amount of adaptation or relocation has changed the basic digestive
physiology with which we have been endowed since the beginning of time.
Why Percentage of Calories?
In this book, I use “percentage of total calories consumed” as my primary model for
discussing carbohydrate, protein, and fat consumption. Although this approach has its
drawbacks, it is the best way I have found to help people gain perspective about, discuss,
and compare the macronutrients they eat.
The scientifically accepted measure of food and nutrient consumption is mass
(weight in grams, ounces, etc.). However, providing dietary guidelines in those terms
requires unnecessary complexity that offers no incremental benefit. Many factors
combine to determine the amount of food an individual should eat for optimal health and
body weight, some of which are gender, age, height, muscle mass, amount and intensity
of physical activity, digestive efficiency, food choices and, to a very limited degree,
metabolic rate.
Using the percentage of calories model allows us to discuss appropriate
carbohydrate, protein, and fat consumption, despite our individual differences. For
example, both a sedentary woman who eats 1,600 calories per day and an athletic man
who eats 4,000 calories per day will thrive eating in the 80/10/10 proportion. The only
difference is that the former would eat far fewer calories than the latter.
I realize that most of my readers have never learned how many calories are in the
foods they eat. And I concede that the calorie concept has its limitations. More than one
person has aptly pointed out to me that not all of the calories we consume are used for
energy. One person insists (and rightly so) that calorie-equivalent quantities of
carbohydrate, protein, and fat cannot be considered identical (or even reasonably similar)
where our digestive biochemistry is concerned. Technical detractors sometimes suggest
to me that because we as humans do not actually burn our foods—as is done in a bomb
calorimeter in order to determine a food’s calorie content—we should dispense
completely with the notion of calories.
I agree with these and other objections to thinking in terms of calories for diet
analysis. Yet numerous peer-reviewed nutritional studies in the finest journals have seen
fit to use the model, including those from top-caliber nutritional scientists like Dr. T.
Colin Campbell of Cornell University. The World Health Organization and governmental
nutritional agencies around the world use both percentage of calories and absolute
amounts in grams to express their dietary recommendations. Even with its flaws, the
calorie concept is the only generally accepted model of energy requirements that relates
to everyday activity. With my background in exercise physiology, I have found the
calorie concept particularly useful in helping athletes perform at their peak and get
enough fuel.
Pros and Cons of the “Percentage of Calories” Model
I am aware of the concern that people could be dangerously misled if they try to
compare the caloronutrient ratios of foods with wildly differing caloric densities. Below
is an example that highlights this potential confusion, followed by another example that
illustrates why I nonetheless choose to calculate nutrients using the percentage of
calories approach.
How Percentage of Calories Can Seem Misleading
Let’s look at some numbers that could be confusing to those new to the calorie
Spinach contains 30% protein (30% of its calories come from protein).
Macadamia nuts contain “only” 4% protein.
Given just this information, one might be led to believe that a pound of spinach
provided more protein than a pound of nuts. However, knowledge of total calories, and
not just percentages, is required to make sense of this data. A pound of spinach contains
104 calories (31 of which are protein) and a pound of macadamia nuts has more than
3,250 calories (125 of which are protein). In terms total calories, the nuts yield four
times as much protein as the spinach.
How the Calorie Model Is Useful
Imagine that a person eats 7 pounds of food in a day, and only 3.5% of that weight
consists of high-fat food. This sounds like a low-fat day, right?
Not hardly. Let’s look at a simple example of a “healthful” day’s intake that
comprises 7 pounds of food and only 4 ounces of fatty food:
The nuts and oil in this example weigh only ¼ pound but amount to 740 of the 1,955
total calories. Since the nuts are not all fat, and the plants do contain some fat, the total
comes to 693 fat calories, or 35% of the day’s intake. This is the same percentage of fat
found in the standard American diet. This quantity of fat, of any type, is not “low,” or
healthful, by any standard!
Comparing Apples to Apples
Often, when caloronutrient numbers are being bandied about, things can become
extremely misleading. A pint of liquid contains 96 teaspoons. Add just one teaspoon of
oil to a pint of water, and you have a fluid that is 100% fat in terms of calories but only
1% fat by weight.
It is important to understand the units of measure used by other diet gurus when
comparing their carbohydrate/protein/fat recommendations to those expressed in this
book. These teachers sometimes use different units for different foods, or change units
over time, or use different units when referring to liquids than they do for solids. Often
too, they use numbers in their presentations that sound good when taken at face value.
But if you roll up your sleeves and do the math, the figures simply cannot add up.
Recognizing that calculating percentage of calories produces a vastly different
caloronutrient ratio than percentage of weight, percentage of dry weight, percentage of
volume, etc., making sure you are comparing apples to apples (so to speak) is an
important factor when evaluating other programs in relation to the 80/10/10 diet.
For example, one popular author recommends consuming anywhere from 10 to 25%
of the diet from fat (depending upon one’s body type and level of inner toxicity). But at
retreats and other events where his recipes are served, fat routinely accounts for 30 to
60% of the total calorie content of the meals. How can this be? The seeming
contradiction stems from the fact that this author’s recommended caloronutrient ratio is
based on volume of food (cups and spoons), rather than percentage of calories. Further
complicating things, he quotes his ratio guidelines in terms of “percentage of highcarbohydrate, high-protein, and high-fat foods.” Given that the items raw fooders deem
“high protein” (nuts and seeds) average 75% of calories from fat, the problem becomes
apparent rather quickly.
When you follow this author’s “low-fat” guideline (“50% carbohydrate, 30–35%
protein, and 10–15% oils,”) you end up eating about 30% fat. The high-fat version of his
plan (“50% protein, 30–35% carbohydrate, and 20–25% oils”) yields a minimum of 60%
fat. Although he acknowledges the necessity to moderate the fat content of “protein
foods” by consuming expensive high-protein powdered supplements, my experience is
that adherents of his plan slather on the fat with abandon, with little or no awareness of
the extent to which their diets are predominated by fat.
The table below provides another example of the misleading results we get when
analyzing nutrient content by volume rather than calories. Consider a salad made of just
two ingredients: 6 cups of lettuce and ¼ cup of almonds. As this table shows, the
almonds account for just 4% of the volume but—surprisingly to many—nearly 80% of
the calories.
In Appendix A I provide analyses of sample meals that use real recipes and
quantities, to help you begin to get a sense of how your daily meals stack up in terms of
caloronutrient ratio.
The Bull’s Eye: 80/10/10rv
For those who choose to follow the healthiest version of 80/10/10 in order to
achieve off-the-charts results in every aspect of your well-being, we add the suffix rv,
standing for “raw vegan,” to the 80/10/10 designation. Also called the “low-fat raw
vegan diet,” 80/10/10rv presents you with the life-changing opportunity to partake
exclusively of Nature’s bounty—consuming only whole, fresh, unprocessed and
undressed plant foods in the form Mother Earth presents them to us.
I have eaten substantially this way and used the 80/10/10rv program, as it has
evolved, with clients for more than twenty years—with astonishing results. This
approach to diet and nutrition has proven over that time to be the healthiest dietary
regimen known to man. By the time you finish this book, you will have the specifics you
need to implement this program in your life.
How Close to 80/10/10 Am I?
How does 80/10/10 compare to your caloronutrient ratio? Well, naturally, each of us
is unique, but the generalizations are telling. Various sources suggest that Americans
consume 40 to 50% of calories from carbohydrates, about 16% protein, and about 35 to
45% fat.28 After twenty years of doing dietary analysis for my clients, I have observed
that 42/16/42 is typical for most people.
As this book explains, most of us in the U.S.—even vegetarians and vegans—tend
to gravitate toward this 42/16/42 average, a proportion that provides far less fuel
(carbohydrate) than our bodies need in order to thrive … and a seriously dangerous level
of fat.
You will also step through some calculations so that you can assess the
caloronutrient ratio of commonly consumed raw food plans. You will see for yourself,
through simple examples, something that became apparent to me years ago: Raw
fooders, for the most part, are consuming astonishing levels of fat—sometimes twice
that of the fast-food-eating mainstream! Naturally, cooked fat carries with it a host of
problems not present in raw fats, but high levels of either can wreak tremendous havoc
with our health.
If you are new to the high-produce way of eating, consider yourself lucky to have
encountered this information early in your quest. With this book, you can steer clear of
the pitfalls that leave so many vegetarians and raw food enthusiasts disheartened and
unsure of where to turn next. If you are a raw fooders, this book may catapult you into a
whole new reality, as answers to long-standing nagging questions begin to emerge. You
may find light bulbs going on as you begin to understand why you or your friends may
not have quite thrived as promised on this “healthiest of all diets.”
Tracking Your Own Numbers
In Appendix D. Resources for Diet Analysis, I describe online tools and other
resources that you can use to get a sense of what you are eating. I encourage you to take
the time to learn to use a nutrient-analysis tool, at least for a short while. Perhaps the
most important use of these automated calculators is to make sure you get enough
calories for your size and activity level. This is of critical importance, as undereating in
terms of calories is one of the main reasons that people fail to thrive on a high-produce
To keep it simple, a week or so of tracking your meals online can give you
sufficient information to begin seeing the true composition of your diet. From there, you
will be able to recognize pitfalls and start adjusting your caloronutrient ratio. After that,
you may want to log on and catalog a day’s consumption here and there, or as new foods
come into season, just to make sure you are still on track … but soon 80/10/10 will
become second nature, and no such effort will be necessary.
Relax … We’ll Get There Together
Most folks find dietary changes more challenging than almost anything else in life.
Many patients have come to me desperate to solve some serious health issue, saying
“Doc, I will do anything you say, follow any program you suggest. Just don’t mess with
my diet.”
Rare indeed (and gratifying) are the few who are so motivated to feel better that
they change directions on a dime. But I acknowledge that dietary shifts are daunting for
nearly everybody. With this in mind, I created the 80/10/10 diet to allow everyone to
transition at a comfortable speed.
By focusing on the caloronutrient ratio (the percentage of carbohydrates, proteins
and fats), rather than on the specific foods, this plan allows you to set your own pace.
Succeeding on 80/10/10 is simply a matter of adjusting the volume of the foods you eat,
in relation to each other, to move yourself in the direction of your target. Gradually
increasing healthful carbs from whole fruit and decreasing fat will work just fine and is
far better than making no change at all. The results, especially when tracked with
colorful graphs on (See Appendix D. Resources for Diet Analysis on
page 332), will provide you with motivation to continue making improvements.
Though food diaries and numerical analyses can be helpful, you do not need to buy
a food scale or log meals each day to receive value from this book. On the pages that
follow, I provide the information, meal plans, and sample calculations to give you a clear
idea of how to incorporate the 80/10/10 formula into your life, with or without the hightech tools.
Just giving conscious thought to what you eat with the caloronutrient ratio in mind
is a first step in the right direction. You can spend as much or as little effort as you want
becoming familiar with your current diet and how it compares with the 80/10/10 plan.
Please, look to this book for inspiration and guidance toward the body and the
health you desire, but do not be discouraged. Some people tell me that they feel
overwhelmed as they become painfully aware of how much fat they have been eating and
how far they have strayed from their goals. To those I say take heart … and relax. The
confusion will clear as we step through these pages together.
By the time you finish reading this book, I venture to say that the road to success
will seem nearer and easier for you to follow. If what you read makes sense and you are
ready to take your health and your body to new levels, simply start steering toward
80/10/10 … the results will come quickly. If you need support and more information,
visit my online discussion group, at (click on Raw &
Even when you have the 80/10/10 concept down to a science, you will never eat in
that ratio at every meal, nor even every day (nor should you). In reality, you will you eat
more fat on some days and less on others. The goal is to eat 80/10/10 as an average, for
an entire year or more. Once you have done that, I’d wager you will never look back.
Chapter 5. Carbohydrate: 80% Minimum
Nutritionists and health-minded diet professionals generally agree that 60 to 80% of our
calories need to come from carbohydrates. Having established so far in this book that the
percentage of total calories in our diet to be provided by both fat and protein should run
in the single digits (not more than 10% each), we can see that the high end of this range
is just about right. For most people, I recommend 80% carbohydrates, or even higher. In
fact, if we consume much less than 80% of our calories as carbohydrates, we are destined
to consume too much protein, fat, or both—but more likely it will be fat.
Insufficient carbohydrate in the diet leads to an array of health concerns, primary
among which are eating disorders, severe food cravings, lethargy, weakness, and all of
the conditions associated with the overconsumption of fats. As we increase protein
intake above ten percent of daily calories, we start seeing low energy and increased acid
toxemia, a precursor for osteoporosis, kidney disease, arthritis, immune dysfunction, and
cancer. Eating substantially more than ten percent of daily calories from fat can lead to
diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and many other maladies. Any way you
slice it—too few carbohydrates, too much fat, or too much protein—you will suffer
serious health consequences.
Sugar: The Fuel We Are Designed For
Before our cells can utilize any food for fuel, whether it contains primarily
carbohydrate, protein, or fat, it must first be converted into simple sugars. Carbohydrates
are by far the easiest to convert to useful sugars. Glucose (a simple sugar) is the primary,
preferred source of fuel for every tissue and cell of our bodies. In fact, some of our cells
(the brain, red blood cells, and some nervous tissue, for example) depend almost
exclusively on glucose as their fuel source.
Fuel vs. Energy
A major misconception people have about food is that it is a source of energy. This
fallacy is partly supported by the fact that in the nutritional sciences, the words “fuel”
and “energy” are used synonymously. The lethargy that follows a holiday meal easily
demonstrates the fault in this line of thinking.
In health sciences however, the term “energy” is defined as a low-voltage electrical
current produced by your brain during sleep, which runs through your body via your
nervous system (also known as vital nerve energy). When you are awake, you use nerve
energy more rapidly than the brain can produce it. Hence, you eventually run out of
energy. After an appropriate period of hours procuring sleep, you awaken, fully
recharged and full of nerve energy again.
On the other hand, food is referred to as “fuel.” We need to consume fuel for three
primary reasons— nutrition, hydration, and pleasure. Through the process of digestion,
we “burn” our fuel (food) to release its own energy potential and utilize it for ourselves.
During this complicated process, we receive a net gain in energy by using our own nerve
energy to release the potential in food.
To help explain the difference, we can apply the analogy of a car. We have no
difficulty understanding that the fuel in our gas tank (food) is completely different than
the energy supplied from the battery of our car (vital nerve energy). Either without the
other is completely useless, but in combination they work to create motion and activity.
Humans have little or no capacity for storing excess protein or excess carbohydrate,
but we can convert both to fat stores for later use as fuel. When we do not eat sufficient
carbohydrates to meet our fuel needs, our bodies break down stored fats into glucose
through a complex chemical process called gluconeogenesis (literally, “the creation of
new sugar”). While this can be a lifesaving process in times of hardship, in the absence
of sufficient carbohydrates, gluconeogenesis results in the production of by-products
known as ketones.
Circulating in the bloodstream, ketones adversely affect our decision-making
abilities, because they exert an influence upon brain chemistry similar to that of alcohol.
Effectively, a heavy ketotic state renders us “under the influence.” In such a state, we
should not make decisions important to our life and health, such as those made when
driving a car, doing sports, or performing any work that requires precision of body or
Types of Carbohydrates
The definitions of carbohydrate and its constituents are evolving. Among lay
people, carbohydrates are thought to fall into two broad categories, complex and simple.
Science recognizes intricate differences between the various carbohydrate compounds,
and considerable confusion exists in the literature that describes them. Here is a
simplified summary of terms, which is by no means definitive; you will find many
variations on this list:
Simple sugars (mainly monosaccharides consisting of one sugar molecule and
disaccharides made of two monosaccharides). Primary among these are glucose,
fructose, galactose, and dextrose (monosaccharides), as well as lactose, maltose and
sucrose. They are found in most foods, including fruits, vegetables, milk, and
Oligosaccharides (short-chain sugars consisting of three to nine sugar molecules):
oliogosaccharides, and maltodextrins. Most renowned for causing the flatulence
associated with beans, some oligosaccharides are entirely indigestible, while others
are partially digestible.
Polysaccharides (“complex carbohydrates” that contain 10 or more—as many as
several thousand—sugar molecules): These include starches (amylose and
amylopectin) and dextrins found in grains, rice, and legumes, as well as nonstarch
polysaccharides, also known as fiber (cellulose, pectin, gums, beta-glucans, and
fructans), found in grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Together, monosaccharides and disaccharides comprise the “sugars” found on the
Nutrition Facts portion of food labels. Monosaccharides are the only carbohydrates that
can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, through the intestinal lining. Our
digestive system easily breaks down disaccharides into their monosaccharide
Simple carbohydrates come in two forms: refined sugars (extracted from fruits,
grains, tubers, and sugar cane) and whole-food sugars (the sugars found in whole, fresh
plant foods, primarily sweet fruits). Both refined and whole-food simple sugars taste
sweet to the tip of the tongue. Unfortunately, widespread misinformation and general
ignorance about nutrition causes the great majority of the population to equate simple
carbohydrates with the nutritionally bankrupt refined sugars. Unaware that whole-fruit
sugar is profoundly different in nature than extracted sugar, these misguided dieters
lump all simple carbohydrates together and then shun them as a category. Government
guidelines and short-sighted nutritionists perpetuate this misconception, admonishing us
to avoid simple sugars like the plague.
Complex carbohydrates, found in grains and other starchy foods, do not taste sweet,
even though they are made from chains of sugars. Complex carbohydrates are more
difficult to digest than simple carbohydrates. They require substantial amounts of energy
in the conversion to sugar, and eating them cooked generates toxic byproducts.
Later in this chapter, I discuss each of these broad categories—complex
carbohydrates, whole-food simple carbohydrates, and refined simple carbohydrates—in
some detail.
Two Carbohydrate Camps
Although there are a tremendous number of variations on the theme, two basic
schools of thought exist regarding what to eat. There are the low-carbohydrate/high-fat
proponents, and then there are the supporters of the high-carbohydrate/low-fat approach
to food.
The Low-Carb/High-Fat Faction
In recent decades, high-fat (disguised as low-carb) diets have taken the country by storm.
In response, grocery stores, restaurants, fast-food chains, airlines, and even doughnut
shops have begun marketing their “low-carbohydrate” options with pride. If the trend
continues, I predict that fat consumption will show a concerted rise by the next time
national statistics are released.
Why? It’s a simple proposition: If your daily caloric “pie” is made of only three
slices (carbohydrate, protein, and fat), and you decrease one of them, one or both of the
other two must increase.
People generally believe that the decrease in carbohydrates in their “low-carb”
meals is offset by an increase in protein. This is incorrect.
As I describe in the protein chapter, only exceedingly rarely does anyone eat even a
quarter of daily calories as protein. The vast majority of Americans eat about 16%
protein each day, and only a very small fraction of the population consumes 20% protein
or more.
The balance of our daily calories, at least 80%, must come from some combination
of carbohydrates and fat. Essentially, any decrease in carbohydrates must be
accompanied by an increase in fat, assuming we continue to consume the same number
of calories.
Unfortunately, each gram of fat contains more than twice the calories of a gram of
carbohydrate. So if you eat the same general quantity of food on a “low-carb” program,
you will increase not only your percentage of calories from fat but also your total
calories for the day.
So how do people lose weight on low-carbohydrate diets? In brief, research shows
that these people invariably consume fewer total calories. Dr. Michael Greger’s superbly
comprehensive and condemning eBook, Atkins Facts, sums it up well:
In 2001, the medical journal Obesity Research published “Popular Diets: A
Scientific Review.” Claiming to have reviewed every study ever done on low carb diets,
they concluded, “In all cases, individuals on high-fat, low carbohydrate diets lose weight
because they consume fewer calories.” (Obesity Research 9(2001):1S.)
I urge anyone who is considering destroying their health with any low-carbohydrate
diet to read this riveting 47-page document in its entirety.29 The following information is
excerpted with Dr. Greger’s permission from that publication.
The Deadly Low-Carb Craze
When one is eating enough carbohydrates, fat can be completely broken down as well.
But when one’s body runs out of carb fuel to burn, its only choice is to burn fat
inefficiently using a pathway that produces toxic byproducts like acetone and other socalled “ketones.”
The kidney uses minerals such as potassium and calcium to help rid one’s body of
toxins like ketones. People on the Atkins Diet are urinating these minerals away. And
critically low levels in the blood of these electrolytes can lead to fatal cardiac
arrhythmias—lethal heart rhythms.
The current director of nutrition at Harvard advises that all physicians should
produce a handout warning about all of the adverse effects of the Atkins Diet. The
symptoms of ketosis [a metabolic state where the body “switches” from primarily using
glucose for energy to primarily using fat for energy] include general tiredness, abrupt or
gradually increasing weakness, dizziness, headaches, confusion, abdominal pain,
irritability, nausea and vomiting, sleep problems, and bad breath.
After running through the adverse effects associated with ketosis, the American
institute for Cancer Research wrote, “Those are the short-term effects. The long-term
effects are even more dire.”
Dr. Greger’s full document details literally dozens of additional diseases and
problems brought on by this deadly diet, including:
Malnutrition (compromised vitamin and mineral intake).
Cancer, stroke, gout, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
Potential kidney, bone, liver, and cholesterol abnormalities.
Cardiac disease, arrhythmias, contractile function impairment.
Impairment of physical activity.
A rise in blood pressure with age.
Rapid falling blood pressure upon standing (orthostatic hypotension).
Sudden death.
Dr. James W. Anderson, professor of medicine and clinical nutrition at the
University of Kentucky School of Medicine, said of the Atkins plan, “This is absolutely
the worst diet you could imagine for long-term obesity, heart disease, and some forms of
cancer. If you wanted to ruin your health, you couldn’t find one worse than Atkins’.”
Having bought into the health-destroying mythology of low-carbohydrate plans,
some dieters avoid all forms of carbohydrate, including grains, starchy vegetables, and
fruit, attempting to derive their fuel instead from dangerously high proportions of fat and
protein. Although we were designed with survival/backup mechanisms that allow us to
transform noncarbohydrate foods into sugar in case of starvation or other extreme
conditions, this capability was intended to be invoked only on rare occasion.
We pay a huge price in terms of health and optimum functioning whenever we force
our bodies to resort to fat (or worse, to protein) to fuel our cells, as these conversions are
chemically inefficient compared with using carbohydrate for fuel. The body can only do
so by expending substantial amounts of vital energy and producing toxic waste products
along the way.
Proper body weight is an effortless, natural outcome of optimum health, but
optimum health is unlikely to result from a diet designed solely for weight loss. The
followers of low-carbohydrate diets may achieve their weight-loss goals, but they
imperil their long-term health in doing so. The admonition to consume tremendous
amounts of animal fat and protein is creating millions of cases of deadly disease that will
become ever more apparent in the years to come.
Starch-Based Diets: The Other Camp
The vast majority of diet/nutrition experts whose patients and clients consistently
experience reversal of degenerative disease, however—including renowned medical
doctors like Dean Ornish, John McDougall, Michael Klaper, Caldwell Esselstyn, Neal
Barnard, Joel Fuhrman, Matthew Lederman and his wife Alona Pulde, and Michael
Greger, as well as professionals at the world-renowned Pritikin Longevity center—
recommend that we base our diets instead around starchy complex carbohydrates. These
experts emphasize the importance of consuming starches (beans, legumes, tubers, roots,
starchy vegetables, whole grains, and whole-grain products).
This advice could be seen as a step in the right direction, because, as I discussed in
the introduction to this book, whole foods are always more nutritious than fractional
foods. Yet due to the nutrient losses incurred during the cooking process, no cooked food
can be viewed as a true whole food. In fact, the cooking process itself actually removes
the water from food (with the exception of certain dehydrated foods that are actually
rehydrated as they are cooked in water). No food whose water has been removed can
realistically be viewed as a whole food.
Agreeing that we are designed to run on simple sugars from carbohydrate, these
highly respected professionals perceive that there is no other substantial whole-food
source than complex carbohydrates. Coming from a cooked food perspective, although
they often acknowledge the nutritional superiority of raw fruits and vegetables, they do
not consider basing the human diet on the sugars in fruit to be a feasible option,
primarily for three reasons.
First, when most people talk about eating fruits and vegetables, they tend to think of
the vegetables being predominant. Yet nutritionists are very familiar with the
studies that have concluded that a diet predominated by vegetables simply cannot
supply sufficient caloric density to support human health. On a diet of just
vegetables, I agree, it is highly unlikely that any human beings could maintain their
health. They would lose weight at a steady rate that would eventually become
unsustainable, and they would suffer unyielding health decline.
Second, in all likelihood, they simply don’t conceive of consuming fruit in
sufficient quantity to meet our caloric needs, even though doing so is quite pleasant
and not difficult. They dismiss this possibility wholesale, as it is entirely outside of
their framework of reference. After all, who knows anyone who lives primarily (but
not entirely) on fruit? I must admit that in today’s world, it is a rare individual who
lives this way. Yet almost every person I have ever met who eats great quantities of
fruit has written a book extolling its virtues. There must be a reason these fruit
eaters are so excited about the excellent health benefits that result from such a
Finally, their misguided notions about the glycemic index and their unnecessary
worries about elevated triglyceride levels literally prevent them from considering
fruit as a primary source of calories. And so, in spite of the fact that fruit is
universally promoted as the ultimate health food, and in spite of their own
conclusions that carbohydrates must predominate the diet in order for health to be
possible, the majority of the world’s health professionals fail to see the obvious: A
fruit-based diet is the finest possibility we have for developing optimum health.
No one can deny that the low-fat vegetarian diets recommended by Pritikin,
McDougall, and their colleagues produce phenomenal results in terms of health, vitality,
and body weight. When they substitute cooked starches for meat in their diets, program
adherents show a marked reduction in cardiovascular disease and an initial improvement
in overall health and well-being.
Yet starch-and-grain-based diet proponents still broadly miss the mark where
optimum nutrition and health are concerned. These complex carbohydrate foods lack in
areas such as vitamin C, soluble fiber, and several hundred thousand phytonutrients. The
experience of eating them can’t compare to the ease, simplicity, cleanliness, and natural
satiation of eating sweet fruit.
Grains: Pritikin’s Downfall
In 1988, a gentleman named Ross Horne wrote a book entitled Improving on
Pritikin—You Can Do Better .30 His story is fascinating. In the 1970s, Horne was the
“best disciple and staunchest supporter” of Nathan Pritikin and his renowned grainbased diet. But after experiencing himself and observing in others some serious
deleterious effects of the Pritikin plan (including arthritis and cancer), Horne wrote this
book. In more than 150 pages, Horne details the health perils that accompany a grainbased diet and precisely where Pritikin’s logic fails. With utmost respect for the superb
results of Pritikin’s low-fat plan in reversing heart disease, Horne points out the
Although Pritikin’s low-fat regimen is nothing short of miraculous in terms of
reversing heart disease, a healthy heart does not ensure a healthy person. Pritikin’s
emphasis on grain (and, interestingly, its excess protein, which averages “only” 12% of
calories) creates other health issues, ranging from arthritis to cancer.
Horne’s book presents a compelling and spellbinding argument against the
consumption of grains. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 10, “Grains Are for the
Pritikin’s mission, first and foremost, was the reversal of coronary heart disease.
This was uppermost in his mind and so his reasoning followed:
We must lower fat, cholesterol and protein, the causes of atherosclerosis and heart
disease. To do this we must cut out foods of animal origin. We must become
As most of the food we eat goes into the production of energy, if we cut out animal
foods which provide most of the energy in the American diet, as well as the protein,
where then will we get our energy and sufficient protein?
The only other suitable foods available are cereals, root vegetables, and fruits,
because green vegetables are so low in food value that you would have to eat them
constantly all day long like cattle do to get enough. We must therefore choose
between starch foods (cereals and potatoes) and fruit, and consider green vegetables
mainly as a source of vitamins and minerals.
So far Pritikin’s reasoning was correct, but at this point his preoccupation with
eliminating atherosclerosis became an impediment. He knew that cholesterol and
triglycerides (blood fats) were the two factors most implicated in atherosclerosis and he
was determined that his diet should diminish these in the blood to as low levels as
possible. Cutting out animal derived foods completely eliminated cholesterol and the
harmful animal fats from the diet, but what about triglycerides from vegetable sources?
Pritikin knew that concentrated sugar of any kind—refined sugar or even extracted
natural raw sugar—entered the bloodstream too quickly, upsetting the normal blood
sugar levels and resulting in the production of triglycerides, his number-two enemy. His
reasoning logically continued:
If out of our two remaining sources of energy and protein, one of them contains
sugar, a substance which elevates triglycerides, we cannot entertain it as a principal
source of nourishment.
We must therefore severely ration fruit because of its sugar content and rely almost
entirely on cereals to provide our energy and protein.
What was the outcome of this reasoning? It was a great outcome; Pritikin first of all
eliminated his own atherosclerosis and then proceeded to eliminate the atherosclerosis in
the bodies of thousands of people who followed his teachings.
This is how the current rage on complex carbohydrate started and why companies
who make whole-grain bread, pasta, cookies and crackers are doing so well.
But the reversal of heart disease and its associated problems is not the be-all and
end-all of health and longevity. There are other things to consider besides restoring good
circulation. Unsticking the blood is only the first step in optimizing health, the second
step is to get the blood’s chemistry right. Pritikin had taken the lipo from lipotoxemia
but much toxemia still remained. When he grouped the natural sugars contained in
fruit in with other sugars, Pritkin had made a fatal mistake.
Because cooked grains create a condition known as acid toxemia, people who
adhere to starch/grain-based diets eventually fall victim to cancer, arthritis, chronic
fatigue, hypothyroidism, and a host of other health challenges. A diet of grains and
cooked vegetables provides most of the vitamins; however, vitamin C—the most
important vitamin of all for the maintenance of tissue integrity and immune system
function, and the most easily destroyed by heat—is seriously lacking unless the diet also
includes a great deal of fresh fruit.
I maintain that whole, fresh fruits—“the other carbohydrate”—contain precisely the
fuel upon which we were designed to thrive.
Let’s step back for a moment and examine in more detail the three types of
carbohydrates—complex carbohydrates, refined simple sugars, and whole-food simple
carbohydrate from fruits.
Complex Carbohydrates
We find complex carbohydrates in rice, corn, and other grains; roots and tubers
(potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, and the like); and
legumes (beans, peas, and lentils). We make breads, cakes, pastas, cereals, pancakes, and
pastries from these complex carbohydrate sources.
Across the board, complex carbohydrate foods are nutritionally inferior to fruits and
vegetables, which are the two highest sources of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
Grains, for example, are low in vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as sodium, calcium,
sulfur, and potassium. The phytic acid in grains is an antinutrient that drastically reduces
zinc absorption. Legumes are low in vitamins A and C as well. Both grains and legumes
contain more protein than I would recommend eating in quantity (their percentages
averaging in the teens and twenties, respectively).
With the exception of corn, peas, and some root vegetables like carrots and beets,
we cannot even attempt to eat most complex carbohydrate foods from the garden,
unprocessed, in the form Nature gives them to us. Even if we can physically chew and
swallow starchy carbohydrates, they are very difficult for our bodies to digest. This is
true whether they are eaten raw, soaked, cooked, processed, or refined. We do not have
the digestive enzymes to break down the oligosaccharides in beans, nor the
polysaccharides (cellulose and other fibers) in grains and starchy vegetables, a sure sign
that they are not designed for human consumption. Biochemistry tells us exactly which
foods we can and cannot digest, and therefore what foods we should eat.
In the raw food world, creative chefs have devised recipes that utilize soaked lentils,
wild rice, oats and other grains. The dishes they create from these easier-to-swallow yet
still substantially indigestible “staples” allow them to replicate many of the tastes and
textures we once enjoyed with cooked food. In all cases, however, grains, starchy tubers,
and legumes create nutritional, digestive, and health problems for those who eat them.
Even when soaked and raw, grains are acid forming in a body that needs to be slightly
Complex Carbohydrates and Disease
Many research studies link diets high in complex carbohydrates to negative health
conditions. The gluten-containing grains32 (primarily wheat, but also rye and barley)
contain at least fifteen opioid sequences, which are strongly addictive, morphine-like
substances that have potent psychoactive properties and produce serious neurological
disorders, constipation, urinary retention, nausea, vomiting, cough suppression, and other
Gluten intolerance (celiac disease) contributes to or causes a wide range of other
diseases, including asthma, arthritis, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease, Type 2 diabetes,
depression, eczema, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, lymphoma, and
gastrointestinal cancers. Gluten intolerance may also be linked to autism, schizophrenia,
and several autoimmune disorders.
Masking the Bland Taste of Complex Carbs
Most people who attempt to thrive on a high-carbohydrate diet devoid of fruit run into
health problems. Primarily, this is because most starchy carbohydrates are completely
unappealing if served as is. Society has proven repeatedly for more than forty years that
people will not, in fact cannot gravitate toward a diet dominated by plain, undressed
complex carbohydrates.
Brain-destroying, neurotoxic, and profoundly addictive flavor enhancers, called
“excitotoxins,” are added to almost all processed foods, especially frozen and diet
Excitotoxins Enhance Flavor While Poisoning Our Foods
In his book, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, Russell L. Blaylock, MD suggests
that the prolific use of excitotoxic flavor enhancers in almost all processed foods is a
major cause of obesity and disease in our country.
The most common and dangerous excitotoxins include Nutrasweet, (aspartame) and
MSG and its derivatives, which show up on food labels as innocuous-sounding
ingredients like hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolysis yeast, yeast extract, textured
protein, soy protein extract, sodium caseinate, natural flavoring, and spices.35
Excitotoxins are substances that react with specialized receptors in the brain in such
a way as to lead to destruction of certain types of brain cells. These highly addictive,
neurotoxic substances accelerate aging and stimulate the nervous system, causing
neurodegenerative diseases, neurological disorders, endocrine disorders, heart attacks,
strokes, tumors, vision loss, migraines, seizures, and many other diseases. They also
worsen or mimic the symptoms of such diseases and conditions as fibromyalgia, MS,
lupus, ADD, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue, and depression.
Excitotoxins are used heavily in both sweet and salty snack foods, and no laws
restrict the use of these substances. Fast-food chains hire food chemists to load our
pizzas, tacos, fried chicken, bento boxes, and the like with as much of these deadly
additives as possible, which keep us feeling “high” and coming back for more. All of the
salty soy products, as well, (whether or not they purport to contain MSG) are laden with
highly excitotoxic free glutamates. This is of special concern for the raw food
community, which tends to consume a tremendous amount of soy sauce, shoyu, liquid
aminos, miso, and tamari.
In his personal film documentary, “Supersize Me,” Morgan Spurlock created a vivid
description of his experience living exclusively on McDonalds’ food for 30 consecutive
days. Although he did not specifically use the term “excitotoxins,” he clearly described
the symptoms of addiction and withdrawal he experienced during that month. News of
the widespread use of excitotoxic additives in junk foods is getting enough press that
people are coming to perceive a whole new level of reality in the 1960s Lay’s potato chip
jingle “nobody can eat just one.” Can you forget the taste of Planter’s dry-roasted
peanuts? (“Monosodium glutamate” sits unabashedly on the label). Other junk foods,
like Frito Lay’s “playfully mischievous” Cheetos snacks, boast multiple sources of
excitotoxic free glutamate. (Flamin’ Hot Cheese Flavored snacks, for example, list
monosodium glutamate, autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed soy protein, and sodium
caseinate on the ingredient label.)
Our commonly consumed cooked foods—meats and refined grain products—are
extremely low in fiber. In fact, animal foods contain no fiber.
Many health-minded people, thinking they are doing their bodies a favor, endeavor
to eat whole-grain complex carbohydrates to get fiber in their diets. They are on the right
track, as fiber is what we remove from whole grains in order to make refined grains—
and dietary fiber is absolutely essential for digestive and overall health.
Unfortunately, these health seekers have been misled to believe that the fiber in
grains is good for us. This is not true. There are two broad categories of fiber, referred to
as soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is an essential nutrient (one we cannot make
within our bodies and must therefore eat), found primarily in fruits and to some degree
in vegetables. It absorbs water and helps to keep the stool bulky and soft. It functions as
a sticky gel-like absorptive medium to keep all substances moving through the
intestines. Insoluble fiber is found primarily in grains.
Pectin and guar are the two most common soluble fibers. They are used in recipes as
thickeners because of their ability to hold water. They also slow sugar absorption from
the intestines, functioning as built-in protection that prevent the sugars in fruits from
being absorbed into the bloodstream too rapidly. Ironically, in their isolated form, pectin
and guar are being used by the medical establishment in the treatment of diabetics, while
doctors insist that diabetics should not consume fruit.
Before doctors truly understood the function of fiber, it used to be described as a
“scrub brush” for the intestines. The insoluble fibers in grains (raw, sprouted, or cooked),
however, are harsh on our delicate digestive tracts. Since they do not absorb water, their
edges and points remain sharp. These fibers literally scrape at the delicate walls of our
intestines, irritating them and causing a thickening of the intestinal wall. This makes the
fiber less irritating but also reduces the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
This irritation of the intestines and colon is what gives bran its reputation for
encouraging bowel function. The body senses an irritant and attempts to expel it as
rapidly as possible, along with whatever else is in the colon at the time. Anyone who
uses bran fiber for this purpose has noticed that after a short time they must increase the
quantity of bran that they use in order to get the same effect. The more the body
increases the thickness of its mucous membrane to protect itself from irritation, the more
bran must be ingested. It is an endless cycle, similar to that of all substance abuse.
Reduced absorption, impeded assimilation, adhesion development, scar-tissue
formation, leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, spastic colon, colon
blockages, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other digestive maladies
are often the outcome of consuming insufficient fiber or fiber that is too harsh. The soft,
soluble fibers found in fruits and vegetables are necessary for optimum digestive and
colon function.
Refined Simple Carbohydrates: Junk Food
The second category of carbohydrates is the refined simple carbohydrates found in
cookies, cakes, candies, and other confections. Refined sugars are also added to drinks,
cereals, complex carbohydrate foods of all types, and anywhere else that you see the
word “sweetener” or “sweetened.” If the ingredient list includes corn syrup, fructose,
galactose, sucrose, dextrose, maltodextrin, dextrin, maltose, levulose, lactose, or almost
any word ending in “ose,” refined sugars have been added.
If people don’t eat lots of fruit, they typically eat something sweet at almost every
meal anyway. Orange juice, sweetened cereals, jellies, jams, sweet rolls, and sugar in
coffee ensure that the day starts off with sweets. Lunches and dinners usually are not
complete unless some type of sweet dessert follows. Be it coffee and cake, milk and
cookies, or any of dozens of other typical combinations, we have found a way to replace
the healthy “sweet and juicy” provided by fruit with unhealthy, refined sweet and (well
… wet, or at least gooey) choices.
Refined simple sugars, a category that includes table sugar, are the classic all-timebest examples of “empty calories,” that is, calories without their full complement of
original nutrients intact. In all forms of refined foods, some part or parts of the original
nutrient package have been removed. Regardless of method, the refining of a food
reduces its nutritional value and creates nutrient imbalances. In my opinion, refined
foods have no place in the diet of anyone wishing to improve their nutrition or any aspect
of their health.
Foods can contain partially empty or completely empty calories, depending upon
the amount of refinement the food has undergone. When people add such empty calories
to other ingredients to create a dish, I refer to the finished product as “junk food.”
Consumers have come to mentally lump all sugars—in fact all carbohydrates—into
one group, to which they attribute mostly negative connotations. Along with complex
carbohydrates, refined sweets and fruits are commonly considered nothing but “another
source of sugar.”
The meat and dairy industries like to point fingers at sugars, declaring them
synonymous with empty calories. They have done such a good job of marketing that to
this day most people do not understand the differences between refined simple sugars
(empty-calorie junk foods) and the simple sugars in fruit (health food), thinking that
“sugar is sugar.”
The empty calories in refined simple carbohydrates are so devoid of food value as
to bankrupt you nutritionally while they also function as stimulants. Both the stimulation
and the nutritional deficit accelerate aging.
Fruits: Whole-Food Simple Carbohydrates
Whole, fresh fruit is the third and most overlooked source of carbohydrates. Fruit
comes in an intricate, highly nutritious package that matches our nutritional needs better
than any other category of food. I recommend that virtually our entire carbohydrate
intake—80% of calories or more—come from the simple sugars in whole, fresh fruit.
These sugars are the optimal fuel source for humans. The soft, water-soluble fiber in
whole fruits allows their sugars to absorb slowly and gradually, so high blood sugar is
not an issue (as long as your diet is low in fat … see Chapter 2.)
Fruits are the obvious choice for obtaining our carbohydrates, as they provide the
only substantial and healthful whole-food source of simple sugar. Many classically
trained nutritionists, and most doctors, still erroneously refer to fruits as complex
carbohydrates, because some of their fiber (such as the skins, pith, etc.) is composed of
complex carbohydrates. Though these indigestible fibers are complex carbohydrate in
nature, virtually all of the carbohydrate calories in ripe fruit are simple mono- and
disaccharides. This misunderstanding has long been pointed out by sports physiologists,
who rely on the fact that the sugars in fruit are simple in design and hence work
extremely well before, during, and after all physical exertions.
Fruits never require cooking in order to be delicious and nutritious, and our bodies
digest them quickly and easily. (Some vegetables with a slightly sweet taste—like some
lettuces, garden-fresh baby peas and corn, and young roots—also contain simple
carbohydrates, but they are so low in calories that chewing them may utilize more fuel
than they provide.)
Think Fruit Meals for Health
Fruit is considered “health food” by almost everyone in the health field. A director
of nutrition for the U.S. Olympic teams once called fruit “magic food.” All the major
organizations of health and disease, from the government to private businesses, from the
National Heart Foundation to the American Cancer Society, agree that we should
increase our consumption of fruit.
As a category, fruits are our least toxic food choice. They digest cleanly, leaving
only water as residue, which is easily expelled from the body. I see no healthful reason to
look anywhere else for the vast majority of our calories. The health, nutrition, energy,
and human performance results available on a high-fruit, low-fat, raw vegan program
eclipse even the proven, consistent benefits of low-fat, starch-based diets.
Fruit As a Staple: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
The practice of eating enough fruit to make complete meals of it is alien to most of
us. Yet it is an idea whose time has come. Fruits are designed to be our staple; they
contain everything required to be the source and mainstay of our nutritional sustenance.
We have been trained to think of fruit as a treat, something to eat at the end of a
meal, or perhaps as a snack between meals when nothing else looks good. But I invite
you to begin thinking of fruit as real food, and even as a meal unto itself.
If fruit is to become a primary food source for us, we must be willing to explore
new avenues, think new thoughts, and ask new questions like the ones below. The
consumer has a lot to learn—as we literally have no frame of reference for such a
concept—and now is the time to get started. In this book, I answer some of these
questions and many others:
How do we know when fruit is fresh?
How many blueberries (or oranges, or mangos, or bananas) does it take to make a
How can I tell if I ate enough fruit?
Is there such a thing as eating too much fruit?
Which fruits provide us with the most carbohydrates per bite?
Which fruits provide the least?
Which fruits are best at the different seasons of the year?
Where does each fruit come from?
Eating 80% of our calories in the form of uncooked simple carbohydrates can
become easy and natural once we learn to eat a moderate amount of nuts and seeds, all
the green leafy vegetables we care for, and great quantities of whole, fresh, ripe, in-
season fruit.
We Are Designed for Tropical Fruit
As a species, humans originated in a warm climate and eventually spread
throughout the “tropical belt,” the warm zone that extends through most of the thousandmile range above and below the equator. This is the environment where tropical fruits
Some folks suggest that wherever they live, they should eat food that is locally
grown, as “logically” that must be the best for them, at least, that is what they have
heard. In the U.S. and Europe, people often argue that since they live in a northern
climate, it is only appropriate that they should eat foods of northern origin.
Think about this: If you have a goldfish, cat, or dog, do you change the very nature
of their diet every time you move? Do zoo animals get entirely different classes of food,
depending on the latitude of the zoo that houses them? Viewed in this way, it becomes
obvious that we must honor the unique dietary requirements of each species, based on its
particular digestive physiology.
Further, many people live in climates that only produce food for a few months of
the year. What should they eat the rest of the year? Humans are anatomically and
physiologically adapted to the food of the tropics, predominantly fruit, as are almost all
of the tropical creatures. In Central America, for example, all mammals with the
exception of the river otter and the jaguar are known to eat fruit, as are most of the birds,
many of the amphibians, and quite a few of the reptiles.
No logical or scientific reason exists to conclude that simply because we have
moved away from the tropics, we should therefore change what has been our natural food
for the great majority of our time on Earth. Regardless of where we go on this planet (or
even whether we ever venture off of the planet to other worlds), tropical fruits remain
our natural foods, the only cuisine for which we are perfectly designed.
Our Own Private Tropics
Historically, it was only the population explosion caused by the advent of tools and
hunting, and exacerbated by the introduction of farming, that resulted in humans being
forced to move into what would otherwise have been considered inhospitable and even
uninhabitable areas. We effectively took the tropics with us, though, as we had no other
Every one of us lives almost every minute of our lives in a miniature tropical
environment, keeping ourselves in the tropics by the judicious use of clothing, bedding,
and heat. Even the Eskimos surround themselves with enough clothing and keep their
homes warm enough so that they can spend almost all of their time “in the tropics.”
We have been trained from early childhood, and have learned through repeated
experience, that it is extremely uncomfortable and can be potentially dangerous, even
lethal, for us to leave the safety of our own private tropics, and early in life accepted the
wisdom and seriousness of this warning. We go through the rest of our lives without ever
questioning that we must maintain ourselves in the warmth of a tropical environment.
Fruit Is a Natural
Fortunately, most people love fruit. Children are naturally inclined to eat it. Our everpresent sweet tooth is a signal from nature that drives us to eat enough fruit to provide
the simple carbohydrates that fuel every cell of our bodies. Whenever I introduce
someone to a delicious tropical fruit that they have never tried, it is met with delight. It
doesn’t seem to make any difference what the fruit is, people almost always “connect”
with it immediately. Almost invariably, I hear something like:
“Wow, this is the best thing I have ever tasted!”
“I just found my new favorite food!”
“I could live on this!”
“Where can I get this at home?”
“Do you know of any mail-order catalogs that can ship some to me?”
“Is this expensive? I want to buy lots of it!”
“How do I learn more about other fruits like this?”
The entire conversation points to the fact that people not only love fruit, they are
designed for fruit. Wherever humans have chosen to venture on planet Earth, they have
carried this physiological predilection for tropical fruit with them. People who live in
temperate areas still require the foods for which they were designed, just as zoo animals
that are geographically relocated still retain their physical requirements.
In fact, it may be even more important for people who live in a cool climate to
obtain tropical fruits, as these people often must do without other essential healthfulliving conditions that are common to the tropics (warm temperatures, clean air, rural
living, year-round sunshine, sounds of nature, pure water, etc.). If you live in an area
where tropical fruits are scarce, it may be well worth your while to consider which other
environmentally essential factors you are also doing without, and to supply them to the
best of your ability.
Training ourselves to once again eat fruit, a practice that held us in good stead for
thousands of generations, is as rewarding for our health as it is delicious.
Chapter 6. Protein: 10% Maximum
Of the three caloronutrients, protein is certainly the most discussed, and the most
misunderstood. I begin with a discussion of protein in order to clear the air about this
vital nutrient, with the intention of not discussing it again in the remainder of this book.
The need for protein has been greatly exaggerated by market forces, and protein’s
functions have been misrepresented. This chapter discusses why we need protein and
where we obtain protein on a low-fat 80/10/10 diet. We put the protein issues to rest and
then get to the heart of the 80/10/10 diet, carbohydrates and fats.
How Much Protein Do We Need?
I often respond to the question, “where do you get your protein?” with several
questions of my own: “How much protein do you think we need?” “How much protein do
you think you currently eat?” “What exactly is the function of protein?” “Have you ever
met anyone with a protein deficiency?”
Although I have met many people who have begun to or are considering vectoring
their diets away from animal foods, I rarely meet anyone who has a reasonable response
to these queries. Usually they tell me that we need large quantities of protein for energy,
or to stay strong, or to keep us from getting sick. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Protein’s primary function is growth, which is negligible in adults, as well as repair from
injury and replacement of worn-out cells.
Official Guidelines Recommend 10% Protein
Sometimes I wonder whether the official nutritional guidelines for caloronutrient
consumption are intentionally vague and confusing in order to better serve influential
market forces. I mean, after 100+ years of testing we have a fairly good idea of which
foods are most nutritious for us. Still, the U.S. government officially recommends that
our protein intake should be somewhere between 10 and 35% of total calories consumed.
It is extremely difficult to consume more than a quarter of your calories from protein,
however, unless you are following a strict regimen of refined protein powder and egg
whites. Currently fewer than 5% of Americans eat more than 21% of their calories from
protein, with the bell curve ranging from 11 to 21%.36
Despite the advertising hype of the meat and dairy industries, humans require an
extraordinarily low amount of protein in their diets. Many official groups, including the
World Health Organization, 37 the U.S. National Academies’ Institute of Medicine, 38 and
the National Research Council39 suggest that eating a mere 10% of our total calories as
protein is sufficient.
Mother’s milk provides on average approximately 6% of calories from protein for
growing infants.40 This should be ample proof that adults do not need more protein per
calorie than this, as infants, with their extremely rapid rate of growth, have the highest
need for protein per calorie of all humans.
Proteins (or more accurately, amino acids) are the building blocks of living cells.
Once we have done our growing, we have very little requirement for the raw materials of
which we are made. Think of the analogy of building a brick house: you need truckloads
of bricks during the construction stage. Once the house is built, however, if trucks
continue to deliver bricks, you have a problem on your hands. The same is true of protein
in the human diet: too much creates emergency conditions and keeps the body in a
constant state of toxicity.
For those accustomed to seeing your protein recommendation in terms of grams or
calories per unit of body weight, the 2003 U.S. RDA for protein is 0.36 grams per pound
of body weight, or 0.8 grams per kilogram (1 kilogram = 2.2 lbs). The RDA calculates
these numbers for a “typical” (sedentary) female and male who eat 1,600 and 2,200
calories per day, respectively, arriving at a suggested 44 grams of protein for a female
and 55 grams for a male. See the sidebar entitled “Calculating Your Protein Intake” later
in this chapter for sample calculations.
10% Protein Includes a Wide Safety Margin
The national and international organizations that set nutrient guidelines build into
their numbers a margin of safety that increases the recommendations substantially, often
near double. The 1989 U.S. RDA for protein of 0.8 g/kg/day, for example, was designed
to meet the needs of 97.5% of a normally distributed population. It was calculated as
Conduct nitrogen balance studies to determine the mean amount of protein required
to replace daily “obligatory losses” through sweat, urine, feces, and sloughed skin,
hair, and nails.
Add two standard deviations (25%) to this mean value.
Add margins for digestibility and protein quality.
In his book The China Study, renowned Cornell University professor emeritus of
nutritional biochemistry T. Colin Campbell states that we require only 5–6% of our total
calories to come from protein in order to replace the protein we routinely lose, and that
“About 9–10% protein has been recommended for the past fifty years to be assured that
most people at least get their 5–6% ‘requirement.’”42
In addition to the safety margin, this recommendation assumes that people eat their
protein cooked. Given that cooking substantially deranges protein and other nutrients, we
can safely consume far less raw plant protein and still be assured of sufficient
nourishment. Thus, you can see that 10% protein (maximum) is both sufficient and
The additional protein afforded by the built-in safety factor is not a problem, per se,
except that overconsumption of protein can lead to health problems, which will be
discussed later in this chapter. The more important concern is relative overconsumption
of protein. In other words, if we overconsume one of the three caloronutrients, we are
likely to underconsume one or both of the others.
The fact that our protein needs actually run in the single digits (under 10%) often
surprises people. Most all of us have unwittingly fallen prey to meat-industry
propaganda that would lead us to believe otherwise. Truly, advertising has influenced our
perception of reality so widely that the concept of “getting enough protein” is embedded
in the culture.
Athletes and Bodybuilders: 10% Still Plenty
Bodybuilders have long consumed extra protein and lowered carbohydrate intake in
the mistaken belief that dietary protein builds muscle. In reality, only weight-bearing
exercise builds muscle. When insufficient carbohydrates are supplied, it is true that
protein requirements go up, as the body transforms the protein into carbohydrate (an
energy-expensive process) and utilizes it for fuel. This does not, however, bring about
the result they desire.
No Extra Protein Required for Physical Activity
Bodybuilders may be interested to note that in its extensive study of protein
requirements, the Institute of Medicine/Food and Nutrition Board determined that no
additional protein needed to be added to the RDA to account for physical activity:
“There is little evidence that muscular activity increases the need for protein, except
for the small amount required for the development of muscles during physical
conditioning (Torun Et al., 1977). Vigorous activity that leads to profuse sweating, such
as in heavy work and sports, and exposure to heat increases nitrogen loss from the skin,
but with acclimatization to a warm environment, the excessive skin loss [loss by
perspiration through the skin—DG] is reduced and may be partially compensated by
decreased renal excretion (WHO, 1985). In view of the margin of safety in the RDA, no
increment is added for work or training.”43
Bodybuilders following the 80/10/10 program have found that if they supply
sufficient calories from carbohydrate, their protein needs go down dramatically, and
their energy to train and their muscular growth both increase.
Lisa Oborne, a professional bodybuilder in Canada for many years, says that she got
the best results of her career when switching to the 80/10/10 diet, gleaning a growth
spurt the likes of which none of her trainers had ever seen.
All Plant Foods Contain Protein
Consuming approximately 5% of calories from protein is difficult to avoid if you
are eating enough food to meet your daily calorie needs. All plant foods contain protein,
and even if you ate a diet of only white rice, (not recommended) you would still end up
with 8% protein for the day! But would it be the “right kind” of protein?
Proteins are complicated molecules made by assembling simple building blocks
(amino acids) together in a “polypeptide” chain. Some 20 different amino acids are used
to synthesize proteins, eight or nine of which are designated essential (depending upon
whose information you read). The term “essential” in nutrition means that the nutrient in
question must be eaten or otherwise consumed, as the body cannot synthesize it.
The Complete Protein Myth
In the 1970s, people often concerned themselves with combining proteins so that all of
the essential amino acids were available at each meal. Later research has determined that
this is not necessary, and in fact the author of the “incomplete protein theory,” Frances
Moore Lappe, recanted 20 years later, saying that she was utterly mistaken. We do need
all of the essential amino acids, but we do not have to eat them together, or even each
Sources of Protein
Dietary protein is not the only source for building the proteins we need. Instead, our
bodies efficiently recycle between 100 and 300 grams of our own protein every day. We
have an amino acid pool from which to build new proteins. We add amino acids to the
pool by breaking down the proteins we eat and the proteins in our bodies.
We can easily meet our protein requirements on a vegan diet, with no particular
attention focused on combining proteins or selecting certain foods for each meal.
The table below shows the percentage of calories from protein in twenty-one
common fruits and vegetables and in five animal foods, for comparison.
Another chart more specific to the 80/10/10 diet can be found in the back of this
book. This chart shows values not only for protein but also for calories, carbohydrates,
fat, water, and fiber for selected whole plant foods. In them, you will see that fruits
generally contain 4 to 8% protein, and a few contain more. Surprisingly, the vegetables
we commonly eat raw range from about 10 to 30% protein. (Vegetables are so low in
calories, however, that even huge quantities add very little overall to one’s daily protein
percentage.) Nonetheless, when we calculate the caloronutrient ratio of a week’s worth
of food consisting strictly of a variety of raw fruits and vegetables, it generally weighs in
just shy of 5% of calories as top-quality protein. A few ounces of nuts or seeds puts us at
around 8% protein, well into the adequate and healthful range.
Mainstream nutritional science defines protein quality in terms of how efficiently
the protein promotes body growth, rather than whether it produces health. Thus, milk and
egg protein are considered the highest quality. However, in the words of T. Colin
Campbell, “There is a mountain of compelling research showing that ‘low-quality’ plant
protein … is the healthiest type of protein.”44
Although many people are surprised to hear it, they understand the logic of this line
of thought when they stop to consider what anthropoid primates in the wild eat: a diet
that is made up primarily of fruits and vegetables. We have never heard that
chimpanzees or orangutans—which are typically five times stronger than humans, pound
for pound—need more protein than the amount they get from their plant-based diet.
Americans Eat 16% Protein
As a percentage of calories consumed, the standard American diet, replete with
meat, dairy, and eggs, runs in the teens. As stated above, the bell curve that describes
protein consumption for the vast majority of the population ranges from 11 to 21% of
calories from protein. Outliers on the low end include the small population of people
who eat low-fat vegan fare, who can easily and healthfully reduce that number to single
digits. At the high end, people who intentionally consume high-protein diets can
approach 30%, but only bodybuilders and athletes who eat massive quantities of egg
whites and isolated protein powders are likely to reach 40 or 50+ percent protein.
People are generally doubtful that protein could comprise such a small percentage
of their diets, but I am not making these numbers up. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, average U.S. protein consumption was 15.5% for men
and 15.1% for women in 2000. These numbers have been consistent for decades; in 1970
they were 16.5% and 16.9%.45
The U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowances, 10th Edition (1989) says, “Food
consumption data from the U.S. USDA’s 1977–1978 and 1985 surveys indicate that 14 to
18% of the total food energy intake is derived from protein. Despite wide variations in
food energy intake, this proportion remains similar for both sexes and all age groups
except infants. There is also little change as a function of household income,
urbanization, or race. Food items likely to be underreported in surveys (e.g., alcoholic
beverages, confections) would provide energy but little protein; hence, the percentage of
energy from protein may be overestimated.46
How can it be that as a nation we gorge on “high-protein” foods, yet we end up with
less than 20% of our calories from protein? The answer is that the vast majority of our
commonly consumed “protein” foods—meat, egg, and dairy products, as well as all nuts
and seeds, contain such an overwhelming amount of fat that the protein numbers go way
down as a percentage of total calories consumed. For example:
Eggs contain more than 60% fat.
“70% lean” ground beef also weighs in at 60% fat.
Cheddar cheese contains 72% fat; cream cheese 88%.
Almonds and sunflower seeds each contain 73% fat.
In truth, there really is no such thing as a “high-protein” diet—at least not one in
which protein comprises the majority of a person’s calories. Typical quantities of highprotein “superfoods” increase protein consumption as a percentage of daily calories very
little. For example, 10 grams of spirulina provides about 7 grams of protein, which might
increase one’s protein percentage from 16 to 17.2%. In other words, without serious
powdered protein supplementation, most people would find it extremely difficult to
consume even a third of their total calories from protein on a sustained basis.
This is good news, indeed, for even the 10% of calories from protein that I
recommend is in truth the maximum that can reasonably be considered healthful, in my
The Dangers of Eating More Than 10% Protein
To listen to the proponents of the meat industry, one would think we are in
imminent danger of disease and death if we fail to eat meat three times a day. The truth
is that eating meat this often causes the very conditions we’re taught to fear. This is a
surprise to most people, who have been taught, incorrectly, that they need large amounts
of protein to be healthy. Actually, the reverse is true: Most people suffer from an
overdose of protein each day, and this accounts for a great deal of our ill health.
Too much protein in our diets is associated with all manner of health impairments,
including such symptoms as constipation and other digestive disorders that often lead to
toxemia (toxic blood and tissues) and, eventually, cancer. Autoimmune dysfunction,
arthritis, and all other autoimmune conditions, premature aging, impaired liver function,
kidney failure, osteoporosis, and many other degenerative and pathogenic conditions
result from eating more protein than we need.
In general, protein-based foods are highly acid forming in the human body (even the
high-protein plants, such as legumes). This is because their predominant minerals are the
acidic minerals—chlorine, phosphorus, and sulfur. To maintain homeostasis, the body
must counterbalance the acidity caused by excess protein consumption. Unfortunately, it
does so in part by taking a precious alkaline mineral—calcium—from our bloodstream.
The body replaces calcium into the bloodstream, where calcium levels must remain
relatively constant, by removing it from our bones and teeth, setting the stage for
osteoporosis and tooth decay.
It is no coincidence that fruits and vegetables contain just the right amounts of
protein to build and maintain the human body. Nor is it a coincidence that the minerals
they supply are predominantly the alkaline ones: calcium, sodium, magnesium, and
Calculating Your Protein Intake
The following examples show how a to calculate protein intake and how to convert
gram measurements to percentage of calories. Calculations are based on the U.S. RDA of
0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight (the upper limit of protein intake on the
80/10/10 diet).
My guidelines vary from these slightly, as I make my recommendations as a
percentage of total calories consumed rather than by body weight. I believe this system
works far better, because it allows for individual differences in fuel use, which can vary
by a factor of ten for extremely sedentary people and extremely active people of the
same weight.
125-Pound Woman: 45g
0.36 grams of protein 125 pounds = 45 grams of protein per day.
45 grams of protein contain approx. 180 calories (45 4 = 180).
If this woman is sedentary and eats about 1,800 calories per day, this amount of
protein would come to 10% of her total calories for the day.
If this woman is more active and eats perhaps 2,300 calories per day, 180 calories of
protein would amount to 8%.
175-Pound Man: 63g
0.36 grams of protein 175 pounds = 63 grams of protein per day.
63 grams of protein contain approx. 252 calories (63 4 = 252).
If this man is sedentary and eats about 2,400 calories per day, this amount of protein
would be just over 10% of his calories for the day.
If this man is more active and eats 3,000 calories per day, 252 calories of protein
would amount to 8%.
In light of the near-double safety factor of the U.S. RDA, I have no concerns when I see
my clients consuming even less protein relative to their size. In my experience, about 5%
of calories from protein, especially when it is high quality and unadulterated by heat, is
adequate and healthful.
That last statement, “5% of calories is adequate and healthful,” is not a radical
concept, not by a long shot. If you have any question whatsoever that this level of protein
intake is healthy, or if you want indisputable evidence of the toxicity of higher protein
consumption, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of T. Colin Campbell’s
outstanding book, The China Study.47 I cannot recommend it highly enough.
A consummate nutritional scientist, Dr. Campbell was at the helm of the most
comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. His blockbuster book will
leave you with no doubt that 5% protein, exclusively from plant foods, is more than
Protein from Fruits and Vegetables Only
On a diet of fruits and vegetables only, it is likely that your total protein intake will
average about 5% of calories or slightly lower. Adding a small quantity of nuts or seeds
results in a slight increase in protein intake percentage. For example:
A meal of 10 peaches (420 calories) yields 7 grams of protein.
Another meal of 10 bananas (1,085 calories) supplies 12 grams of protein.
A bowl of soup made from 3 tomatoes blended with 2 cucumbers (150 calories)
supplies more than 7 additional grams of protein.
A pint of fresh-squeezed orange juice (225 calories) offers nearly 3.5 grams of
One medium head of lettuce (about 50 calories) provides about 5.5 grams of
Though we have only eaten 1,930 calories so far, the total protein consumed is 35
grams (over 6% of calories).
My recommendations for total calorie consumption are somewhat higher than most
official recommendations. I do this not because I wish to see people gain fat, but because
I know that an increased calorie intake— when accompanied by a commensurate
increase in fitness activities—results in an overall higher level of fitness and health. It is
this rise in calorie consumption, from an increased intake of fruits and vegetables, that
assures the consumer of nutritional sufficiency.
In nature, we would have to be fit in order to survive. We would also eat fruits and
vegetables, the most nutritious of all foods. In order to be well nourished, we are
designed by Nature to consume the significant quantities of fruits and vegetables that
would be eaten by a fit, active person.
Protein Deficiency Does Not Exist
On a whole-food diet that provides sufficient calories, there is no such condition as
a protein deficiency. A brochure from the Vegetarian Society of Colorado says, “Studies
in which humans have been fed wheat bread alone, or potatoes alone, or corn alone, or
rice alone, have all shown that these plant foods contain not only enough protein, but
enough of all of the essential amino acids, to support growth and maintenance of healthy
A 1999 journal article entitled “Optimal Intakes of Protein in the Human Diet”
confirms this fact, saying “… the true minimal [protein] requirement is likely to be so
much lower than the amounts provided by natural diets (which are providing sufficient
energy and other nutrients) that its magnitude becomes to some extent an issue of
scientific curiosity only.”49
In developing nations where insufficient food is available and people are literally
starving to death, protein/calorie malnutrition conditions known as marasmus and
kwashiorkor do exist, but these do not occur in developed countries. The symptoms—
extreme emaciation, lassitude, and muscle wasting—resolve equally as well by the
introduction of high-carbohydrate or high-fat foods as they do from the consumption of
concentrated protein, and usually better. Protein deficiency, it turns out, just is not the
cause of these problems. It is simply a shortage of food, a chronic severe deficiency of
calories, that causes people to literally digest their own muscle tissues for fuel.
It is much more likely however, that a person would run into a huge host of other
social, health, and nutritional problems long before developing the dreaded protein
deficiency. Protein deficiency simply is not part of our reality. This is the main reason
that this book focuses on just two of the three caloronutrients: only our fat and
carbohydrate consumption rates tend to vary appreciably. As one goes up, the other,
fairly reliably, goes down.
Chapter 7. Fat: 10% Maximum
Nutritionists have told us what to do in order to be healthier: increase our
carbohydrate consumption and eat less fat. But knowing what to do does not mean that
we will do it, of course. A prime example is quitting smoking. We have known for
decades that smoking is killing us, yet according to the World Health Organization, more
than a billion people continue to smoke. In order to make successful long-term changes,
we must not only anticipate health as an outcome, we must also be happy about it.
Apparently we have not found a way to be happy while eating less fat. We certainly
have not implemented this relatively simple change into our diets. Even the recent
threats of morbid obesity, epidemic diabetes, bovine leukemia, and mad cow disease
have not gotten us to reduce our intake of meat, dairy, poultry, fish, oils, or fats in
How Much Fat Do We Need?
In its 2002 Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs, which replaced the 1989
Recommended Dietary Allowances, or RDAs) the U.S. Department of Agriculture
recommends that 20 to 35% of our calories be consumed as fat.50 This advice is
significantly skewed to the high side by the financial and lobbying influence of the U.S.
dairy and meat lobbies.
In his book The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell sheds some light on this
longstanding problem. In 1982, while serving on a National Academies of Science expert
panel, Campbell coauthored a report entitled Diet, Nutrition and Cancer. This was the
first public scientific panel to openly question the wisdom of certain widely accepted
nutritional standards. In particular, the panel recommended a substantial reduction in fat
Campbell writes, “The first guideline in the report explicitly stated that high fat
consumption is linked to cancer, and recommended reducing our fat intake from 40% to
30% of calories.” The report acknowledged that the 30% goal was an arbitrary cutoff
point that represented a “moderate and practical target,” but the data could easily have
justified a greater reduction in recommended fat intake.
A more healthful “greater reduction,” however, was not to be. As Campbell
describes, “The director of the USDA Nutrition Laboratory told us that if we went below
30%, consumers would be required to reduce animal food intake and that would be the
death of the report.”51
In spite of such continuous industry pressure, some public agencies have succeeded
in publishing lower guidelines. For example, a 2003 report on diet and chronic disease,
commissioned by the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture
Organization recommends a diet consisting of 15 to 30% fat.
Private sources offer an even more conservative perspective on healthful levels of
fat consumption:
Udo Erasmus, author of Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, has extensively researched
the topic of fat consumption and health. What’s more, he sells fat for a living. Yet
in his book he recommends we eat just 15–20% of our calories as fat.52
The Pritikin Longevity Center, a facility that holds the finest heart disease
reversal record of any such organization in the U.S., recommends a dietary fat
consumption of 10%.53
Dr. Dean Ornish, a renowned cardiologist and author, also guides his heart patients
to greater health and disease reversal through his near-vegetarian dietary program
that includes not more than 10% fat.54
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, surgeon at the famed Cleveland Clinic and author of
Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, also recommends a low-fat cooked vegan diet
where approximately 10% of calories come from fat.55
Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine and author of several books on vegan nutrition, is another proponent of
approximately 10% fat for health.56
Many other doctors and PhDs famous for their work in nutrition have written
extensively on the health benefits that predictably accompany a drastic reduction in
dietary fat consumption. These include John McDougall, Michael Klaper, Alan
Goldhamer, William Harris, Ruth Heidrich, Michael Greger, and Matthew Lederman and
Alona Pulde, among others. All of these professionals, as well as many dietitians,
nutritionists, sports scientists, and other health experts agree that the magic percentage
could be as high as the teens, but not much higher. Only industry-influenced government
bodies recommend that we should limit fat consumption to 30% of our total calories. I
would steer clear of any health “professional” or diet plan that claims that consuming
20% or more of our calories from fat is healthful (or even acceptable).
Several years ago, I read an interview in an airline magazine with the then-current
director of nutrition for the U.S. Olympic Team. In it, she stated that the relative
percentages of fat, protein, and carbohydrates in an athlete’s diet should not vary,
regardless of whether the athlete runs the mile or the marathon, lifts weights or plays
table tennis, shoots skeet or puts the shot. She stated that without a doubt, the only
nutritional change she would recommend from athlete to athlete would be the number of
calories consumed, not the choice of food or caloronutrient ratio. She went on to assert
that fruit is like magic food for athletes. The International Olympic Committee, in its
book Food, Nutrition and Sports Performance, concluded that a diet based on fruits and
vegetables was the healthiest for athletes and would result in the best possible
The Role of Fats
Fats serve a wide variety of functions in our diet and in the human body. It is wrong
to think of fats as being all bad. Fats are a concentrated source of fuel, providing more
than double the calories per gram of either carbohydrates or proteins. They play an as-yet
not totally understood role in satiation, possibly because they are so difficult to digest.
The fat in foods serves as the sole carrier/source of our fat-soluble vitamins. Dietary fat
is also the source of the widely misunderstood nutrients known as essential fatty acids.
Fat plays many important roles in regulation of various bodily functions. It is
essential to our production of hormones, although too much fat will exert an adverse
influence on our hormones. It also helps to regulate the uptake of nutrients and excretion
of waste products by every cell. Fat is the primary insulator within the body. It protects
us against cold and heat, keeps the electricity that flows through our nerves on course,
and protects our vital organs from jarring and other types of physical shock.
Types of Fat
Fat is fat, or so a great many people think. Actually, there are many types of fat.
Some are considered good; others are considered bad, and still others are a mixed bag.
Some fats are solid at room temperature; others are liquid. Many fats are indigestible
and unusable by the body, while some are indispensable. There are overt fats and covert
fats, short-, medium-, and long-chain fats, saturated, monounsaturated, and
polyunsaturated fats. There are cooked fats and raw fats—and yes, there is a difference.
There is also a big difference between animal-derived fats and plant-based fats, at least
where our health is concerned.
Yet with all the dietary fats available on the planet, a man walking in the jungle
with nothing more than his bare hands would have a very difficult time putting his lips to
any but a minimal amount of fat, and then only if he hit the season exactly right.
Animals that are built similarly to man eat a diet that is very low in fat. They rely upon
fruits and vegetables for their calories, not fats. Let’s look at fat in a little more detail.
Fatty acids comprise the basic structural unit of all “lipids” (a term comprising oily,
water-insoluble substances that include fats, oils, waxes, sterols, and triglycerides). You
can think of fatty acids as the building blocks of fat. They are found, on their own, in all
whole foods. When fatty acids are joined to the other more complex lipid structures, the
fatty acids are responsible for the properties demonstrated by that lipid.
Overt and Covert Fats
Overt fats are the fats that you can see, or at least tell, are in our foods. Since our taste
buds cannot distinguish fat, we only detect it by the greasy feeling on our hands or lips.
To us, fat is tasteless. If a food is fatty, oftentimes people have to be told. Many people
are surprised to find out the actual fat content of the foods they eat.
Typical Fat Content of Selected Foods
(percentage of calories)
Nuts and seeds: 60 to 90% fat
Wieners and sausages: 70 to 85% fat
Beef ribs: 65 to 80% fat
Hamburger patty: 55 to 65% fat
Chicken with skin, roasted: 36 to 63% fat
French fries: 45% fat
Chocolate chip cookies: 45% fat
Apple pie: 40% fat
Swordfish, grilled: 30% fat
Baked potato with ¼ cup of reduced-fat sour cream: 20% fat
Chicken breast, broiled skinless: 20% fat
Flesh, including fish, fowl, and game, as well as eggs and dairy, nuts and seeds,
olives, avocados, and all oils make up the bulk of the overtly fatty foods. Deep-fried
foods of all kinds are extremely fatty and also count as overt fats. Many desserts are also
overtly fatty, such as cheesecake, ice cream, pastries, and nutty candies. Yet all of these
foods account for less than half of the fat consumed in the typical American diet.
The remainder is often referred to as “invisible” fat. We will call it “covert.” Covert
fats are more hidden. Vegetables, sweet fruits, and nonsweet fruits like tomatoes and
cucumbers contain enough fat that should you eat them exclusively (in quantities
sufficient to meet your caloric needs) and consume no overt fats whatsoever, you will
average between 3 and 5% of your total calories from fat.
Eating primarily low-fat fruits and vegetables—accompanied by a very small
amount of nuts, seeds, and fatty fruits such that total fat does not exceed 10% of calories
—provides sufficient fat to cover all of our nutritional needs.
Solid and Liquid Fats
We readily identify fat when we see it congealed on the top of soup that has cooled. We
have no problem recognizing a stick of butter, or that white stuff around the edges of our
steak, as fat. But many people find it difficult to conceive of liquids as fat.
All oils are fats, but all fats are not oils. What is the difference? Oils are fats that
tend to be liquid at room temperature. Both solid and liquid fats function nutritionally as
fat. Both oils and fats exist within walnuts and avocados. Whereas you can feel the liquid
oil in a pine nut, you cannot separate the oil from the lettuce; they are one. The 80/10/10
diet does not recommend the consumption of refined oils, those separated (extracted)
from foods; rather, we recommend eating foods with oils in them, especially over foods
with solid fats in them.
How Can 2% Milk Be 35% Fat?
You may have heard someone say that “2% milk” is anything but low fat. Most of us
who have not taken the time to learn the nuances of interpreting food labels find this
quite paradoxical. How can it be?
The answer lies in the distinction between percentage by weight versus percentage
by calories. The following macronutrient calculation example demonstrates this
distinction and shows just how misleading food marketing can be.
100 grams of whole milk contain 60 calories.
Its weight (100 grams) is distributed as follows:
88.3 grams of water
0.7 grams of ash (solid residue)
4.5 grams of carbohydrates ( 4 calories per gram = 18 carb calories)
3.2 grams of protein ( 4 calories per gram = 13 protein calories)
3.3 grams of fat ( 9 calories per gram = 30 fat calories)
grams total
As you can see, 88% of the milk’s weight (the water) provides no calories. Among
the remainder, 3.3 grams out of the 100 grams are fat, which is why the milk label shows
“3.25% milk fat.”
However, protein, fat, and carbohydrates do not all contain similar energy value; fat
packs more than twice the calories of an equivalent amount of carbohydrates or protein.
In rough numbers, each of the 3.3 grams of fat contain approximately 9 calories, while
the 3.2 grams of protein and 4.5 grams of carbohydrates contain about 4 calories each.
Thus, in terms of calories, 30 of the 60 calories in whole milk come from fat, a fact
the dairy industry is very happy to obscure. The table below summarizes the fat content
of the common fluid milk products:
Interestingly, the “nonfat” milk contains the 2% fat that the dairy industry would
like you to think is in its “2%” product!
The idea that all fats derived from animals are solid while all those found in plants
are liquid is inaccurate, although this is true in the majority of cases. The primary
exceptions are liquid fish oils in the animal kingdom and solid coconut oil in the plant
Essential and Nonessential Fats
Essential fatty acids58 (also referred to as EFAs) are so named because they cannot be
synthesized; we must consume them in our foods. They play an integral role in the health
of our skin, in growth and development, the stability of our heartbeat, and the clotting
and flowing of our blood. Too much, too little, or the wrong ratio of these vital nutrients
can wreak havoc on our health.
Currently, two fatty acids are thought to be essential: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA),
and linoleic acid (LA), omega-3 and omega-6, respectively. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty
acids are commonly understood as synonyms of the term “EFA,” but twelve different
fatty acids are actually made from ALA and LA. And all of the fatty acids that stem from
these are classified as omega-3 and omega-6. Thus, by definition, not all omega-3 and 6
family fatty acids are essential. Only the polyunsaturated fats ALA and LA must be
attained from external sources. The omega-3 fatty acids made from ALA include some
notable members such as EPA (eiocosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic
acid). In the omega-6 family, the most notable members are arachidonic acid (AA) and
gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).
Interestingly, current research in nutritional science is questioning whether ALA is
actually essential, since evidence exists that the body may be able to synthesize it, as
well. Thankfully, we needn’t worry about this, since both linoleic and alpha-linolenic
fatty acids are both common in the makeup of plant lipids.
There is no established minimum recommendation for EFAs, but we do know that
their ratio to one another is as important, if not more important, than the quantity we
consume. Scientists generally accept that early man consumed omega-6 and omega-3
fatty acids in roughly a 1:1 ratio. This happens to be the same ratio of essential fatty
acids found in the human brain.59
Historically, as grain consumption escalated and the use of oils heavily laden with
omega-6 became commonplace in our diets, this ratio began to shift. Current
recommendations suggest that the ideal ratio is between 1:1 and 4:1 (omega-6 to omega3). In spite of this “ideal’ range, the average American diet shows a ratio ranging from
10 to 30:1, a dietary choice that contributes significantly to the prevalence of
inflammatory diseases and other very serious health issues in our nation. This seriously
skewed ratio compromises the body’s ability to convert ALA into longer-chain fatty
acids, such as EPA and DHA.
Lacking an agreed-upon minimum EFA requirement, we do have some data to guide
us. In November of 2008, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
and the World Health Organization convened a meeting of experts to review the major
developments in the field of fatty acids in human nutrition. Its final report is yet to be
published, but a preliminary summary concludes, “the available evidence indicates that
0.5 to 0.6%E [percentage of energy, or calories] alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) per day
corresponds to the prevention of deficiency symptoms.”60 Previously in 2002, the Food
and Nutrition Board of the U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended an “adequate
intake” (AI), which is not a minimum, for omega-3 of 1.1 (women) to 1.6 (men) grams
per day. 61 If consumed as oil (not recommended), this amount would be extraordinarily
small: 1.6 grams equates to approximately a third of a teaspoon, or a couple dozen drops
… and even this low number may be substantially inflated.62
The information above can be combined to guide us in determining our nutritional
needs. On a 2,000-calorie diet, 0.5% of calories from ALA, or omega-3 represents 10
calories. This is approximately 1.1 grams of ALA, which falls within the IOM’s adequate
intake levels (albeit at the bottom of the range). This quantity of ALA can be obtained
through the consumption of whole fresh fruits and vegetables, with the occasional
addition of nuts and seeds. The following table shows ALA and LA content of selected
whole foods.
Based on the above numbers, on a 2,000-calorie 80/10/10 diet, we could obtain
recommended levels of EFAs with the following:
Breakfast: 1.5 lbs. of mangos (about 3) and 12 oz. blueberries.
Lunch: 44 oz. of bananas (about 11).
Dinner: 1 lb. of oranges, 1 lb. of romaine lettuce, and 8 oz. of tomatoes.
According to the USDA nutrient database, this meal plan (totaling 2048 calories)
provides 1.3 grams of ALA and 1.4 grams of LA. This maintains the 1:1 ratio and
supplies the adequate EFAs without including any overt fats at all. Adding healthful
(very small) amounts of overt fats on occasion will ensure your needs are met.
Since the average American consumes a higher ratio of omega-6 than omega-3, we
are bombarded with nutritional information directing us toward omega-3 supplements.
The idea that we need to consume more of some particular nutrient to balance another
that is overconsumed is as ineffective as taking vitamin C to minimize the damage from
smoking cigarettes. The result of increasing fat consumption, whether from “good” fats
or not, is that we end up consuming too much fat. Our need to supplement for nutritional
balance would not exist if we were not harming ourselves through our lifestyle and
foodstyle choices in the first place. In our natural diet, the foods are automatically
balanced to suit our nutritional requirements.
Cholesterol, a sterol (combination steroid and alcohol) and lipid, is found in the makeup
of every cell membrane and is transported in the blood of every animal. The precursor of
the five major classes of steroid hormones (progestagens, glucocorticoids,
mineralocorticoids, androgens, and estrogens), cholesterol is not all bad but is vital to
human life. Some of its many functions include the production of vitamin D and the
formation of the bile salts, the sex hormones testosterone and progesterone, and the
myelin sheath that surrounds our nerves.
Discovered during the late 1700s in gallstones, cholesterol is still the subject of
much study. We know that cholesterol is not an essential nutrient for humans (we don’t
need to eat it). Our livers produce all the cholesterol we need. However, when we
regularly consume animal foods that contain cholesterol or saturated fat, we ingest
quantities that exceed our physiological needs, with deleterious consequences to our
health. Excess cholesterol accumulates and forms plaques within artery walls, leading to
atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), decreasing the oxygen-carrying capacity of
the blood, disrupting hormonal balance, and sometimes decreasing cell permeability.
Saturated and Unsaturated Fats
Saturated fatty acids are so named because their long chain of carbon atoms contains the
maximum possible number of hydrogen atoms—in other words, they are saturated with
hydrogen. These fatty acids have the highest melting point and are solid at room
temperature. Saturated fats are stable molecules, and as such are very unlikely to change,
making it impossible for the body to do anything constructive with dietary saturated
Yes, our brains are high in saturated fats, but eating saturated fats will not improve
brain function or slow its degeneration. In fact, our bodies are simply not capable of
utilizing dietary saturated fats. At best, the body stores dietary saturated fats as body fat
and at worst, the fats accumulate along arterial walls.
Do We Need Lauric Acid from Virgin Coconut Oil?
Lauric acid is the subject of quite a bit of current research. This medium-chain fatty
acid is primarily found in mother’s milk, coconuts and their oil, cocoa butter, palm oil,
and palm kernel oil. The latter three are highly saturated plant fats. While virgin coconut
oil may pose less health risk when consumed raw than saturated cooked fats, it is still a
fractional, artery-clogging refined saturated fat that our digestive system is not designed
to process.63 Later in this chapter I talk more about why oils in general are unhealthful;
please see “Oil Is Not Health Food.” The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of
lauric acid are not desirable traits, as slick marketing would have you believe. Antibiotic
(literally meaning “anti-life”) is not a property that we should seek in food. The internal
environment of a healthy adult who eats a low-fat, low-toxin diet does not harbor excess
harmful bacteria.64 When we develop healthful living habits, our body has all the
resources it needs to care for itself.
Unsaturated fatty acids make up the bulk of plant fats. Monounsaturated fats contain
one double or triple bond; polyunsaturated fats have two or more double bonds.
Hydrogen atoms are eliminated where double bonds are formed. The body adds
hydrogen, a process that saturates the fat. In other words, the unsaturated fat molecule is
malleable and is subject to change within the body. The body can work with it and utilize
it. It then integrates these self-manufactured saturated fats into our bodily structure as
Monounsaturated fatty acids can accommodate a single pair of hydrogen atoms.
Monounsaturated oils have a lower melting temperature than saturated fatty acids.
Whole-food raw plant sources of monounsaturated fat include avocados, almonds, and
other nuts and seeds and their butters.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are the least saturated, with room for two or more pairs
of hydrogen atoms. Polyunsaturated oils have even lower melting points, meaning they
are all liquid at room temperature. Whole-food raw plant sources of polyunsaturated fat
include walnuts and other nuts and seeds and their butters, as well as leafy green
Generally, the less saturated the fatty acid, the more easily it can be utilized by the
S/P Ratio
Nutritionists have recommended a healthy ratio of saturated to polyunsaturated fats for
the last fifty years. The ratio is called the “S/P ratio.” The suggested ratio that is best for
health has been placed at 20/80 (20% saturated to 80% polyunsaturated). This is an
accepted standard in the world of nutrition.
Note that the S/P ratio of most plants, including nuts and seeds, is ideal: 20/80, or
extremely close to it. The proportion of saturated to polyunsaturated fatty acids in most
animal foods is 80/20, the exact opposite of the ratio we require.
When we discuss the health values of different types of fat, it is important to
remember the S/P ratio. The structure of the fat we consume very profoundly affects
bodily function. As this number skews toward saturated fats in the diet, we see increases
in atherosclerosis and other forms of heart disease, the number-one killer in the
westernized world. It is literally impossible to achieve a healthy S/P ratio while
including products of animal origin in our diets.
How Much Fat Do We Eat?
Americans consume one-third to one-half of their calories as fat. In my experience,
the number tends to gravitate around 42% for the average fast-food connoisseur.
Government national average statistics weigh in lower, because they include people who
eat low-fat diets, people who eat massive amounts of refined sugars, and those on every
other conceivable dietary plan.
In 2004, the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report
entitled “Trends in Intake of Energy and Macronutrients—United States, 1971–2000,” 65
which highlights an important distinction: although the average percentage of calories
from fat decreased a few percentage points from 1971 to 2000 (4% for men, from 37 to
33% of calories, and 3% for women, from 36 to 33%), the total fat consumed shows a
different picture.
On average, total fat intake (in grams) increased among women by 6.5 g and
decreased among men by 5.3 g, reflecting a near-zero overall change. This is because a
statistically significant increase in average energy (calorie) intake occurred during that
period: men’s calorie intake increased from 2,450 to 2,618 calories per day, and
women’s calorie intake increased from 1,542 to 1,877 calories per day. (This data
includes numbers for men and women from 20 to 74 years of age; younger people eat
more and older people eat less than these averages overall). The bulk of increased
calories has come in the form of carbohydrates, as consumption of refined sugary
desserts, breads, crackers, pastries, soft drinks, and alcohol have skyrocketed.
People commonly consume more fat than they need in one of the following three
Some people overeat fat while keeping their total calories at the right level to
maintain their weight. To accomplish this, they must, of necessity, undereat
carbohydrates. The immediate consequences of eating too few carbohydrates can
include lethargy, cravings, bingeing, and emotional instability.
Other people overeat fat while undereating in terms of total calories. Such a diet
produces weight loss, but it falls far short in some nutrients—while providing
potentially fatal overdoses of others. If we minimize one of the caloronutrients from
our diets (carbohydrates), of course we will lose weight; we will have almost halved
our calorie intake. However, we have to learn to ignore our natural sweet tooth,
while living with an incessant and ever-growing craving for carbohydrates.
Finally, there are those who overeat fat while overeating in terms of total calories.
The results of this practice are well known. In addition to all the ill effects which
result from a high-fat diet, overeating on calories contributes to overweight,
obesity, lethargy, digestive illness, a reduced life-span among other illnesses.
Whether they realize it or not, most people tend to gravitate toward 42% fat, regardless
of the type of diet that they follow.
Many people think of themselves as vegetarians even though they eat at least some flesh
food. Their diets are generally skewed toward fish and fowl, under the false assumption
that these are more healthful choices. They consider themselves “on the vegetarian
path,” and they eat flesh “sparingly” compared to the amount they ate in the past.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians, (those who don’t eat flesh) tend to make up for the lack of
meat in their diets by increasing their consumption of dairy and eggs. Vegetarian options
such as cheese sandwiches, fried potatoes, cheese- and oil-drenched pastas, and rich fatty
desserts often become the focus of their dietary regimens.
Vegetarians quickly learn to recreate all their old favorite foods in a style that is
acceptable to their new ethics. Vegetarian pizza may not have meat, but it often has a
double portion of cheese and does not lack at all in fat. Vegetarians are generally happy
that they can eat familiar foods while feeling no sense of deprivation. In the final
analysis, the vegetarian diet averages around 42% fat.
In addition to eating no flesh of any kind, including seafood, vegans do not consume
dairy, eggs, honey, or any other animal-derived products. Vegan alternatives to most
conventional food items are now sold in supermarkets. They are also the stock-in-trade
of the larger health-food stores nationwide. Vegan lasagna (using soy cheese) and even
vegan milk (from soy, almonds, or rice) are common today. Vegan chefs abound, and big
cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle boast vegan restaurants featuring the
cuisines of many nations of the world, including India, China, Jamaica, Italy, Thailand,
and others.
Margarine, a vegan product, (the health “value” of margarine, even compared with
butter, is another story altogether) contains the same percentage of calories from fat as
butter: 100%. Oil generally plays a larger role in the vegan diet than in the standard
American diet, as it replaces many of the animal fats. Vegans often increase their use of
nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives, as well.
Essentially, vegans eat their own version of the standard American diet, with vegan
versions of all the same foods that they ate before. It should then come as no surprise
that when we analyze the caloronutrient ratio of the vegan diet, we find that it doesn’t
change much.
If anything, vegans often allow their dietary fat intake to swell even higher than the
mainstream. Vegans think that they do not need to limit their fat intake, because they
believe that the animal products were the only “offenders” in their old program. Even if
their fat intake remains the same, overall calorie intake often drops when vegans replace
animal foods with plant foods (which provide fewer calories per bite). Thus, the
percentage of the vegan diet that comes from fat rises.
The average, however, remains close to 42%, because a good number of vegans
follow “low-fat” programs, as well. Nonetheless, the vegan diet, with its increased use of
fruits and vegetables, and its superior S/P ratio, is overall a far healthier diet than the
standard American diet or vegetarian options. Still, too much fat is too much fat.
Eating Fat: Good or Bad for Us?
More fat than we require is not an asset but a detriment to good nutrition. The more
fat we eat, the further we stray from meeting our nutritional needs. A steady flow of
research comes out regularly relating high-fat diets to almost every type of digestive
disturbance, blood disorder, and degenerative disease. Much of this is caused by the
body’s reduced ability to uptake, transport, and deliver oxygen to our trillions of cells.
(We discussed this at length in Chapter 2. In addition, too much fat reduces the actual
number of viable red blood cells. Excessive fat consumption may be commonplace, but
it is nothing short of nutritional disaster.
A high-fat diet not only destroys our health, but it ages us, as well. Due to our
inability to taste fat, we tend to dress our fatty foods with stimulants and irritating
condiments, to give them flavor. These very stimulants and condiments accelerate the
aging process. We pay for every “up” with a subsequent down. All isolated substances
extracted from whole foods have this effect upon the body, even if they are promoted as
supplements, beauty or rejuvenation aids, or other types of health builders. Combine the
influence of these food additives with the extra work the body performs to process highfat meals, as well as the compromises in blood function that plague people in the habit of
eating heavy, fatty diets, and you have the perfect recipe for the early onset of aging and
health decline.
Oil Is Not Health Food
While we have learned and repeatedly demonstrated that whole foods are the only
source of balanced nutrition, many health advisors tell us that refined, isolated fats and
oils should be considered “health foods.” They almost all sell some type of “food-grade”
oil, which seems like a fairly strong endorsement. Are we just supposed to ignore the
obvious contradiction?
Some vendors promote the consumption of oil as part of an internal “cleanse”
program. I have even heard oil referred to as “juice,” with the suggestion that we drink it
as a daily health practice. This is the stuff that draws ridicule from mainstream scientists
and nutritionists, and, at least according to many health experts, is why the raw
movement is being laughed out of the scientific community.
Oils … Empty Calories at Best, Carcinogenic Junk Food at
Across the board, refined oils (including coconut, flax, olive, hemp, almond, borage,
and the like, which are touted as “pure” or “special” because of their source or careful
processing methods) are essentially empty calories, not fit for human consumption. They
are stripped of the fiber, protein, and carbohydrates that accompanied the whole foods
from which they were derived, leaving an imbalanced fractional product that is 100% fat.
In contrast, whole-food fats eaten sparingly (fresh nuts, seeds, avocados, or young
coconut flesh) provide some useful nutrition and are not automatically detrimental to
health. Using such intact sources of fat in salad dressings and other dishes with their full
complement of macro and micronutrients is by far preferable to using refined oils.
Although oil vendors tout a wide variety of health benefits to be gained from the
phytochemicals contained within cold expeller-pressed oils, there can be no doubt that
these delicate micronutrients are more potent when left untouched within the whole
foods. Maximum nutrition occurs when our teeth are the first thing to break Nature’s
package … rather than a machine, an appliance, or even a knife.
Further, the fiber contained in whole plant foods helps keep fats from going rancid.
Shortly after extracting any oil from its source and discarding the fiber, early-stage
rancidity (and therefore potential carcinogenicity) ensues, even if we cannot detect it. As
rancidity begins to set in, micronutrients become deranged.
If calling refined oil “empty calories” doesn’t sit well with you, chalk it up to good
marketing—because oil (pure fat) fits the description of empty calories perfectly, as do
protein powder (pure protein) and table sugar (pure carbohydrate). These include
commodities popular among raw fooders such as evaporated cane sugar (Rapadura) and
hemp protein. Empty calories invariably provide less nutritional value than their wholefood counterparts.
If we think only in terms of symptoms, we may indeed perceive some benefits from
consuming oil. But when we extract the oil from nuts and seeds in a vain attempt to
maximize their anticancer properties and concentrate other nutrients, we create (often
undetectable) imbalances within the body that inevitably produce unintended health
problems. Adding oils into the diet to treat symptoms such as dry skin, eczema, dandruff,
candida, joint aches, etc., which were not caused by a lack of oils (no known symptom is
actually caused by a lack of oil), is totally nonsensical.
Rather than treat or suppress the symptoms of any condition, it is always a healthier
strategy to remove the causes of the condition. True health is created from the inside out,
not through lotions, potions, or other aids. Increasing the amount of high-water-content
fruits and vegetables while reducing fat consumption to a healthful range is the
foundation for creating a healthful life.
Eating for health requires a shift in thinking, from “is this good for me” to “what
am I designed for?” No matter how we look at it, oil is simply not necessary in our diet
and should never be considered a health food (or even a food, in my opinion).
10% Fat for Health
If you are relatively new to the idea of monitoring your caloronutrient ratio,
bringing your total fat consumption down to the teens (under 20%) is an excellent initial
goal. You can accomplish this by just calculating the fat in your
nuts/seeds/avocados/etc., without factoring in the covert fats in your low-fat fruits and
vegetables. These foods add only a negligible amount of fat to the daily intake—just a
few percentage points total.
As eating a greater volume of fruits and vegetables gets easier, you may decide that
it is worth your effort to track the covert as well as the overt fats for a short time, in
order to get a more realistic view of your total fat consumption. You may find that you
need to be vigilant in monitoring fat intake, at least at first, because fat calories are more
concentrated than carbohydrate or protein calories and therefore, are easy to miss.
The Caloronutrient Seesaw
A truly healthy diet is well balanced in nutrients, but the balance is not the one we
have been taught. Eating 80%+ of calories from carbohydrates, with fat and protein in the
upper single digits, actually balances what I term “the caloronutrient seesaw” quite
In the graphic above, protein is the fulcrum, and fat weighs so heavy on our system
that just a little bit goes a very long way. A balanced caloronutrient seesaw would be
80%+ carbs, with single-digit (less than 10%) protein and fats. When this ratio comes
from whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic, plants, all the rest of your food-related nutrients
will be consumed in the optimum quantities for human health.
Chapter 8. The Big Surprise: Raw Fooders Average 60%+
As is true of new vegetarians or vegans, when people initially begin incorporating
raw foods into their diets, they almost automatically gravitate toward foods of similar
composition to the ones they are used to, in order to feel satisfied. With delight and
abandon, they eat their fill of luscious raw concoctions that are tremendously rich and
difficult to digest, certain that they have reached “nutrition nirvana.” In the back of their
minds, they may recall someone having mentioned that these are “transitional” or
“celebration” foods, but today they are still celebrating their transition … and what a
party it is!
Can you make raw pizza? Sure, that’s easy. You can find hundreds of pizza recipes
among the dozens of raw websites and recipe books available today. Virtually any dish
from any cuisine can be replicated using only raw ingredients.
In some parts of the U.S. and abroad, it is becoming easier and easier to jump on the
raw food bandwagon. The raw-curious can dip their toes into an ever-expanding array of
potlucks, food-preparation workshops, chef trainings, and prepared food offerings being
presented by local raw chefs, speakers, and food vendors. Prepackaged raw snacks,
desserts, and entrées are becoming popular in many health-food stores, sometimes
meriting a section of their own with multiple rows of taste sensations. And it seems a
new raw restaurant, or at least a deli with a few raw options, opens every week in some
area of the country.
For those with computer access, virtual communities and online discussion boards
abound, and it doesn’t take much searching to find plenty of helpful support (and
confusing information) for your new endeavor. And if you can afford the luxury of
travel, you can find raw retreats, festivals, and educational events taking place across the
globe year ’round.
Unbeknownst to the new raw food enthusiast, however, virtually every speaker they
are likely to hear and every food they are likely to taste will lead them down a garden
path to a raw diet that at least equals—and often far surpasses—the fat content of
mainstream American fare, in terms of percentage of calories consumed.
Yes, you read that correctly: Almost across the board, raw fooders rank right up
there with the burgers-and-fries crowd when it comes to ingesting fat, almost always
consuming 50% of their calories as fat, usually far more. I see it all the time: raw
fooders who eat a chocolate-coconut-almond shake or a fruit-and-flax-oil smoothie for
breakfast, a nut pâté for lunch with an oil-drenched, avocado-laden salad on the side,
glorious granola bars or slices of fruit slathered with nut butter as snacks, and tahinidressed greens and sprouts for dinner with more avocado, plus a plate of seed cheese on
flax crackers.
Such a regimen can easily top 75% fat and may seem far too heavy for a seasoned
raw fooder. Over time, most people who eat a raw diet refine their menus, eventually
ending up eating “simple meals,” which include more fruits and vegetables and fewer
fats. But it takes precious little in the way of nuts and seeds to equal or exceed the
percentage of fat consumed by the average American. Even longtime raw fooders who
consider their diets massively simplified in comparison to their early days are often
astonished to learn that they still consume an average of 40 or 50% fat!
“Don’t Worry, It’s Raw …”
Many leaders of the raw food movement endow raw foods with almost supernatural
powers, teaching that consuming fat won’t harm us “as long as it is raw fat.” They tell
people that the unstable fats in nuts and seeds can withstand the sustained heat of lengthy
dehydration and subsequent room-temperature storage without degrading or going
rancid. This is wishful thinking on the part of people wishing to profit from the high-fat
raw fad by selling flax crackers, granola bars, and other dehydrated prepared foods.
Eating such concoctions within hours of dehydration is safest, but it is still a far cry from
eating fresh, unprocessed whole-food fats as they occur in nature. Some even pride
themselves on eating 80% of calories from fat and beyond, recommending such a
program as perfectly safe, which it categorically is not.
The high-fat raw foods that well-meaning raw chefs, teachers, and authors promote
are very likely to cause in raw fooders many of the same health issues that plague cooked
food eaters, including candida, chronic and intermittent fatigue, and even heart disease.
These maladies result in large part from excess fat in the bloodstream, a correlation
explained in Chapter 2. Sadly, I personally know two raw fooders who have undergone
open-heart surgery this decade. Yes … their high-fat raw diets resulted in the total
blockage of their coronary arteries.
Raw fats are without question far better for us than cooked fats—especially when
they come from whole plants as opposed to extracted oils or cooked animal products. But
do not let anyone mislead you: the habitual consumption of fatty foods is not a healthful
Cooked or Raw, Too Much Fat Is Still Too Much Fat
Whether you eat cooked animal fat, cold-pressed plant oil, or whole-food raw fats, too
much fat is too much fat … and we must recognize its health-destroying potential. Below
are a few examples. (See “Cooking Damages Nutrients” for more information on the
additional health problems we create by cooking our fats.)
Cooked or raw, higher-than-healthy levels of fat in the bloodstream force fat to
“precipitate out” and adhere to arterial walls, a condition known as atherosclerosis.
Hypertension, aneurism, atherosclerosis, embolism (thrombus), myocardial
infarction, cerebral infarction, and other vascular disorders are all related to
excessive consumption of dietary fat.
Cooked or raw, increased fat in the bloodstream reduces the oxygen-carrying
capacity of red blood cells, predisposing us to cancer. A lowered blood-oxygen level
also adversely affects all cellular function, including muscle and brain-cell
function. Reduced oxygen to the brain results in impaired clarity of thought, poor
decision making, and a dull mind. Some researchers have suggested that impaired
oxygen delivery sets the stage for senility, memory dysfunction, and learning
Cooked or raw, increased fat in the bloodstream requires an increased epinephrine
(adrenaline) response in order to drive the pancreas to produce insulin. Following
excess stimulation, adrenal exhaustion sets in, as required by the Law of Dual
Effect. Adrenal exhaustion is the precursor for conditions such as mononucleosis,
Epstein-Barr virus, chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME),
post-viral fatigue syndrome, lupus, and myofascial disease, to name just a few.
Cooked or raw, increased fat in the bloodstream results in increased demand for
insulin, known as insulin resistance. As described in Chapter 2, the resulting
continuous drain on the pancreas eventually leads to pancreatic fatigue and
chronically elevated blood-sugar levels. This predisposes us to a group of lipid (fat)
metabolic disorders, mistakenly referred to as “blood-sugar metabolic disorders”:
hyper- and hypoglycemia, hyperinsulinism, candida infections, diabetes, and
Cooked or raw, the excessive consumption of fat has been incontrovertibly linked to
the development of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Future research is expected
to continue to support this statement, as countless thousands of studies have already
done, including the Framingham Heart Study and the China Study, respectively the
longest and the largest nutrition studies ever undertaken. When other lifestyle
factors are equal, the greater the amount of fat that a population consumes, the
higher the rates of these dreaded conditions. It has been shown that when we
consume more fat than we require, we almost invariably consume less carbohydrate
than we require. Insufficient carbohydrate consumption will result in feelings of
fatigue, loss of strength, reduced sex drive, and a general lowering of vigor and
“Not Me,” You Say?
If you have been following a raw diet, you are probably almost certain that it does not
contain 60% or more fat. “I love my salads. I eat lots of greens,” you say. “I eat tons of
fruit, too, compared to most people. There’s no way I eat that much fat!” Yet fat has a
way of sneaking into the diet, whether it is cooked or raw, and you won’t notice it unless
you understand where it comes from.
I analyze what people eat on an ongoing basis. While I occasionally meet someone
who both claims to consume a low-fat diet and actually does so, far more frequently
people are shocked at the analysis they receive. In almost every instance, people discover
that the raw food cuisine they consider the ultimate in health has actually become a very
high-fat program.
Low-Fat Cooked vs. High-Fat Raw
People often ask whether it is better to eat a low-fat cooked diet or a high-fat raw
one. Some people ask, “which is worse?” It is important to differentiate between eating
“just to stay raw” and eating for health. The 80/10/10rv plan represents the ideal—the
eating program that is optimal in every way, including your health. If you were asked to
choose between shooting yourself in the foot or shooting yourself in the hand, hopefully
your choice would be not to shoot yourself at all. Choosing between the lesser of two
evils is not the point of The 80/10/10 Diet. Each situation calls for the application of
intelligence. You may often have to make decisions regarding the quality of your food.
Knowing the ideal will serve you extremely well: whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic, lowfat plants.
That said, I must emphasize that habitually eating a high-fat raw diet is profoundly
damaging to the body, and we do ourselves no favors by rationalizing, “I know all this
fat isn’t so great for me, but at least it keeps me raw.” If I found myself—on rare
occasion—with only high-fat raw or low-fat cooked plant-food options, I would make
one of two choices: Either I would forgo eating altogether by skipping that meal, or I
would indulge in the high-fat meal and then follow it with a day or more where I eat no
overt fat whatsoever. The occasional high-fat meal (preferably about six, and an absolute
maximum of twelve times per year) is certainly an allowable exception, as the goal is to
keep the overall diet as close to the 80/10/10 parameter as possible.
I do realize, however, that for various reasons some people find themselves
ongoingly unable to eat enough fruit to make a low-fat raw vegan diet feasible for them.
For such people, I must admit that eating in the 80/10/10 proportion, regardless of the
food choices, wins hands down over habitually partaking of the high-fat foods popular at
raw potlucks, restaurants, festivals, retreats, and workshops. If high-fat raw or low-fat
cooked seem your only options, choose the low-fat option, every time.
If you must eat gourmet raw for a handful of “transitional” months, go ahead … but
keep your eye on the 80/10/10rv target, if health is your goal. Please, keep in mind that
by far the easiest transition to this way of eating is invariably the shortest one, as
verified by the many who have gone before you.
Why Raw Fooders Eat So Much Fat
Just as in the mainstream population, many raw fooders have been taught to fear
sugar and, therefore, to fear fruit. Eating lots of low-calorie greens and shunning fruits
forces us to consume fats for satiation and caloric sufficiency.
Whereas Americans consume between one-third and one-half of their calories as
fat, most raw fooders consume at least 1½ times that amount. They eat a continuous
stream of nuts, seeds, oils, coconuts, olives, avocados, and other fatty fruits. Even when
the quantities eaten look small, the calories in these foods add up quickly. As a result,
many raw fooders attempt to live on a diet where fat accounts for 50, 60, and even 70plus percent of the mix. Here are some of the reasons why:
Nuts and Seeds in Place of Meat and Dairy
Raw nut and seed loaves, pâtés, and cheeses are staples in every raw gourmet
kitchen and sure-fire favorites at raw food restaurants. But nuts and seeds pack a caloric
wallop that even the fattiest meats cannot touch.
Seeds Instead of Grain
Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and several others have become
popular as the “meal” of dehydrated crackers. Some are more gelatinous than others, but
seeds typically are “sticky” enough to hold together when dehydrated, creating a
reasonable facsimile of a cracker.
These dehydrates look, feel, and taste pretty much like crackers. They hold dips as
well as any cracker. Of course, in contrast to crackers made of grains that offer only a
small percentage of their calories from fat, the majority of calories in these crackers
(even when “cut” with a huge proportion of vegetables) come from fat, ranging from
about 50 to 70%. But they remind us so much of “real” crackers when we eat them that it
is difficult to remember they are more than half fat. And what do we eat them with?
Why, a nice fatty nut and veggie spread, a seed cheese, or guacamole, of course.
Fat in Raw vs. Traditional Crackers
(percentage of calories)
66%: Sunflower flax crackers: (half sunflower seeds, half flaxseeds)
58%: Flax crackers (all flaxseeds)
49%: Veggie flax crackers (10 C. vegetables, 2 C. flaxseeds)†
47% Ritz (9 Ritz = 140 calories)
38%: Nabisco Wheat Thins (15 Wheat Thins = 140 calories)
34% Triscuit (7 Triscuits = 140 calories)
22%: Nabisco Snackwell’s Wheat (10 Snackwells = 140 calories)
0%: Rice cakes (4 cakes = 140 calories)
† The
“Veggie Flax” cracker listed above is an actual recipe from a recently
published book by a popular raw food chef. In all likelihood, at 49% fat, it is among the
lowest-fat nut/seed-based cracker being consumed in the raw food world today, as
flaxseeds contain the least fat (58%) among the nuts and seeds, and the recipe is loaded
with vegetables. The regular flax crackers shared at potlucks and sold at festivals are
virtually always significantly higher in fat.
This “low-fat” cracker recipe yields approximately a hundred 3 3-inch crackers and
contains a total of 1,840 calories, or 18.4 calories per cracker. Thus, about 8 of these raw
crackers provide the caloric equivalent of 9 Ritz, 15 Wheat Thins, 7 Triscuits, 10
Snackwells, or 4 rice cakes.
Nuts As Pastry Substitutes
Raw food chefs steer clear of bread, because it is a cooked food. But they still like to
make pastries, pies, cookies, and other dishes that traditionally call for dough. Hence,
they have learned to make pastry dough out of crushed nuts and even fluffy “bread flour”
out of leftover nut-milk pulp—both of which work exceptionally well, if your goal is
delicious food without regard for health.
Tastewise, raw pastries are definitely a hit. But the caloronutrient ratio is all wrong.
As the following table shows, the fat in a raw pie crust makes the Pillsbury Doughboy
look lean.
True, raw pie crusts usually contain sweet fruits such as dates or raisins, and many
fillings also contain fresh fruit. These fruits decrease the overall fat percentage of the
recipe, but in even the best case, not likely lower than 40% of total calories. But do not
let the percentages fool you. A raw fruit pie with a nut-based crust has a tremendous
quantity of fat, even before the filling and topping are added. It is important to
understand both calories and caloronutrient ratio in order to fully grasp the
caloronutrient picture.
Coconuts for All Occasions
Creative raw food chefs have devised a wide range of culinary applications for coconut
meat and dried shredded coconut. Coconut meat shows up in raw items such as icings,
sauces, soups, smoothies, cheeses, and creams, whereas the shredded variety adorns
granolas, cakes, candies, cookies, pie crusts, tortes, and more.
Many raw fooders plow through a case of young coconuts weekly; some even daily.
In addition to the high fat inherent in such a diet, imported coconuts are dipped in
fungicide, thus contaminating both the meat and the liquid.
Packaged or bulk shredded coconut, like all other products dehydrated to a crisp, is
not really a food in any sense of the word. It is a party item at best. If you include dried
coconut at all among your list of acceptable “foods,” I urge you to use it sparingly
(maybe once or twice per year for very special occasions), and to purchase only the
unsweetened, organically grown product. Otherwise, even the shredded coconut found in
health-food stores usually contains sulfites to prevent browning, and often other
chemical preservatives and additives. Most commercial air-dried coconut is dehydrated
at temperatures between 170 and 180 degrees F.
Coconut Facts
Coconut is a versatile food with a delicious, unique taste. The fruit of the coconut
consists of a green or yellow-brown fibrous husk inside which the coconut itself is found.
The nut itself has a hard outer shell with a kernel inside.
In the young “green” coconuts, the kernel is soft and jelly-like, and the central
cavity is filled with coconut water. As the coconut matures, the kernel becomes harder
and the amount of water decreases. The edible parts are the water and meat or jelly.
Below are some of the many ways coconuts are used as food, as well as data on fat
content (from the USDA nutrient database).
Coconut meat: The solid white flesh inside the mature coconut.
Coconut jelly: Young coconut meat still in a semiliquid state.
Coconut water: The translucent liquid inside a coconut.
Coconut milk: Liquid expressed from grated coconut meat and water.
Coconut cream: Liquid expressed from grated coconut meat.
Coconut oil: A soft solid at room temperature. Warms easily to liquid.
Dried coconut: Air-dried flaked or shredded mature coconut meat.
All manner of amazing health “benefits” are attributed to the coconut, but I do not
recommend using food as therapy for any purpose. Coconut meat is nearly all fat, the
vast majority of which (80%) is saturated. If you eat a healthful low-fat raw vegan diet
and live healthfully, you will not need the “benefits” of coconut or any other food.
I suggest eating and drinking fresh coconuts when you visit the tropics, but
otherwise reserving them only for an occasional indulgence. Aside from fresh, organic
young coconut “jelly” or coconut water, this luscious treat is, unfortunately, not the best
choice for your health—or your waistline.
Oils Supplant Foods
Many raw fooders believe that when they eat a large salad, they are consuming a low-fat
meal. However, this is true only when the salad includes no oil-based dressing or other
high-fat ingredients. Just one liquid ounce (2 tablespoons) of any salad oil transforms an
innocent, seemingly healthy salad into a high-fat fiasco. It is no longer diet food, and it
is no longer health food.
The simple salad example presented below includes 150 calories from vegetables
and vegetable fruits, accompanied by a dressing containing 2 tablespoons of oil. Note
that even this small quantity of oil increases the calorie count to nearly 400, and the
calories from fat to 64%. In contrast, the same salad with no dressing, or perhaps with a
blended fruit dressing, contains just under 10% of calories from fat, which is right on
Many raw fooders consume more vegetables and more oil in their “typical” salads.
In addition, they add nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, and other fatty accompaniments. In
this case, both the total calories and the percentage of calories from fat always increase.
Fortunately, there is an easy alternative. We can double the size of our salad and
replace the fat with a fruit-based dressing, such as raspberries blended with celery. A
fruit-based dressing adds enough calories to the salad to make it a substantial meal,
while keeping the total calories from fat right where we want them. This simple dressing
adds beautiful color to the salad, and most folks tell me they love it.
Fatty Fruits—and Lots of Them
Most fruits have very little fat, usually less than ten percent of total calories. A few
“fatty fruits,” notably the avocado and the olive, derive about three-quarters of their
calories from fat.
Proponents of low-carbohydrate diets and many raw food programs suggest that we
eat these high-fat foods in unlimited quantities because they are so low in carbohydrates.
We are told that the fats in these fruits have the right S/P ratio and should be considered
“good” for us.
However, when we eat a large quantity of fatty fruits, we cannot possibly consume
enough carbohydrates. If you like being lulled into lethargy both physically and mentally
by your food, then eat fatty fruits in unlimited quantity. If you prefer feeling energized
and sharp minded, go for the sweet fruits instead. On days that you choose fatty fruits, be
sure that they represent your total fat consumption for the day.
Worthy of special mention because of its increasing popularity in raw food circles
is the moderately fatty durian. Running 20 to 30% fat, depending on whose numbers you
use, the durian can be a wonderful addition to the 80/10/10 diet on occasion, making a
delicious and satisfying meal, all by itself. This large, spiky, exotic pod, whose rich,
aromatic fruit is reminiscent of sweet custard, is considered a prime delicacy in
Southeast Asia.
Eaten infrequently, durian will create a slight blip on your fat radar screen for a day
or two … nothing to be concerned about. As an occasional indulgence, you could do a lot
In higher volume, I would be more concerned with lack of freshness and chemical
contamination than I would be with the fat content of this sweet treat. Most durian
available in the West is imported frozen from Thailand and therefore cannot be
considered fresh food. And sadly, the durian supply is notorious for its heavy treatment
with unnecessary agrochemicals.
If you want truly fresh, safe durian, travel to Southern California, Florida, or a
tropical location and find a farmer who is willing to share his or her cultivation practices
in detail.
What Raw Fooders Are Actually Eating
At the 2004 International Festival of Raw and Living Foods in Portland, Oregon, we
analyzed a typical day’s food intake for a curious young lady from Hawaii who attended
one of my lectures. She observed that, living in the tropics, she seemed to eat more fruit
(and thus less fat) than other raw fooders she knew. Still, she suspected that she was
eating more fat than she realized.
Sure enough, when we ran the numbers, we found that on her average day, she
consumed a total of 2,400 calories, 45% from fat. In her “typical” day, she described
eating 2 oranges, 6 bananas, 1 papaya, and two salads. The oil, nuts, seeds, and avocado
interspersed within these meals caused her fat to total more than four times the
maximum 10% target. Here is the breakdown:
A 75% Fat Salad Is Not Unusual!
Most folks tell me that they eat at least one “healthy” salad every day. They eagerly
want to believe that they are really not eating that much fat. A “large” green salad,
including a 12-oz. medium-sized head of romaine lettuce, 3 medium tomatoes, and 1
cucumber would contain 169 calories, 17 of which would come from fat (our
calculations say that vegetables average about 10% of calories from fat, and this
example verifies the assertion).
A dressing that blends three tablespoons of oil (360 calories), ¼ cup of pine nuts
(229 calories), and some cilantro, salt, and lemon juice would supply 590 calories—555
of them from fat. Dice in a 6-oz. avocado (284 calories), and the resulting 1,042-calorie
meal would provide 194 calories from carbohydrates, 61 from protein, and 791—more
than 75%—of its calories from fat! The caloronutrient ratio would be roughly 18/6/76,
the exact opposite of what we are looking for. This much fat cannot ever make for a
balanced or nutritious meal.
Let’s suppose that this 75%-fat salad provided half of your daily calories, the other
half coming from two smaller meals plus several snacks. By day’s end, even if all your
other meals contained zero fat (a theoretical impossibility), you would end up with 38%
fat overall. More likely, however, if you are on a raw diet, you will eat a handful of nuts
now and then, add a bit of oil to a smoothie or avocado to a raw soup, have a few olives
or some durian, or perhaps break open a coconut. All of these foods add substantial fat to
your day, and there you have it—60% or even (much) more of your calories coming
from fat … every day.
Even if you eat eight or ten pieces of fruit per day with such a salad, on a 2,000
calorie diet, such a program would probably send your caloronutrient ratio for the day
into the range of 50%+ calories from fat.
Chapter 9. Stabilizing Body Weight
We have been able to determine our percentage of body fat fairly accurately since
that fateful day over 2,000 years ago when Archimedes ran naked through the streets of
his hometown yelling “Eureka!” having discovered while bathing a valid method of
pyknometry—the science of measuring and comparing the densities or specific gravities
of liquids or solids. However, it wasn’t until the last few decades that this issue became
important to anyone but world-class athletes.
Today, as monitoring our weight has become a national pastime, more and more
people are becoming aware of the relationship between body fat and total body weight.
Still, the misconceptions and misunderstandings about body composition are widespread.
What People Don’t Know About Body Composition
Undoubtedly, weight control and its implications are issues of huge importance. The
side effects of obesity are innumerable, and they spill over into every realm of our
private and social lives. As our weight progresses beyond healthy, normal levels, we
compromise our mental health, self-image, fitness, personal hygiene, job performance,
relationships, and many other things. But what constitutes our body mass, and how does
understanding this aid us in achieving our weight goals?
Three elements comprise our total weight: water, lean tissue, and fat. Water makes
up as much as 70% of our total mass.66 Lean tissue includes our bones, muscle, and other
nonfatty mass. Fat constitutes the rest of our weight. Lean tissue holds more water and is
denser than fat. The high water content of lean tissue easily transmits electrical signals, a
fact underlying the most common method of measuring body-fat percentage, the
bioimpedance monitor.67
In the not-so-distant past, when virtually everyone carried a relatively low body-fat
percentage and harbored little excess water weight, weight alone served as a fairly
accurate predictor of a person’s shape. Today, as obesity consumes more than half of the
population, weight alone is no longer an adequate indicator of what we might look like.
In order to better understand the nuances of body composition and the relationships
among water, lean tissue, and fat, we must look deeper into the science of weight loss
and weight gain. Consider the following:
We Can Gain Water Weight While Losing Fat
Loss of fat is typically accompanied by a loss of weight, but not always. It is possible to
gain muscle and/or water weight while losing fat. We can very easily gain more in water
weight than we lose in fat, yielding a net gain in weight. This is true because water
weighs much more than fat, volume for volume, so that a little gain in water weight can
equal or exceed the amount lost in conjunction with a considerable amount of body fat.
Even if you are steadily losing fat, the simple addition of a little extra salt in the
diet can negate any potential weight loss. The great volume of water that the body must
take on to dilute the toxins in salt, in any form, results in a net weight gain. (See “Is
eating sea salt all right?”)
We Can Also Gain Muscle Weight While Losing Fat
It is possible, but not as common—since muscle growth tends to be fairly slow—to
exercise enough so that you gain more weight in muscle than you lose in fat, resulting in
an overall weight gain. When all other factors remain equal, however, fat loss does result
in weight loss.
We Can Be “Too Skinny” and Overfat at the Same Time
When thin people have a desire to gain weight, they usually fail to recognize that they
need to gain muscle, not fat. Almost every client who has ever come to me wanting to
curtail their weight loss because they thought that they were getting “too skinny”
actually still needed to lose some fat. In more than twenty years of advising people on
matters of health, nutrition, and athletic performance, I have known only two individuals
who actually wanted and needed to gain fat.
What really happens when people begin eating healthfully is that the fat starts
falling off and they think they are losing muscle, because they never realized how little
muscle they actually carry. People in this situation need to gain muscle while continuing
to lose fat. This requires exercise.
One client, a high-end fashion model, came to me saying she would do whatever I
suggested in order to extend her youthful beauty, but she could not afford to lose any
more weight. She was long and lanky and looked skinny to be sure, but she was
undermuscled. When we measured her body fat, she was shocked to discover that it was
almost 29%—at least 10% above what I would consider healthy. She did not need to lose
weight; she needed to lose fat while gaining muscle. She did just that, and she continued
her modeling career for many more years.
Gorging on Fat Is Not a Strategy for Weight Gain
Many people who eat a lot of fat lose a great deal of weight. How can this be?
Consuming a diet that is low in carbohydrates and rich in fat can leave people with a
depressed appetite, which leads them to eat fewer calories.68 Also, although some people
can handle dietary fat fairly efficiently (and still consume many calories), most of us do
not digest or assimilate it very well. This means that even when we consume the same
number of calories in high-fat food as we would on a lower-fat diet, we can experience
an effective net reduction in caloric intake. Of course, the heavy fat interferes with
nutrient absorption, as well. This is a compound problem, because a high-fat diet is
already nutrient poor.
Overfat People Are Malnourished
We cannot be healthy when we are overfat, since our health cannot be better than its
weakest link. To the degree that we are overfat, we are also typically malnourished: the
more fat, the more malnourished. The obese person who eats only fruits and vegetables
is virtually unheard of; we get fat when we eat foods that are less than optimally
nutritious—foods that are nutritionally poor and impair our assimilation of nutrients.
Hence, fatness and malnutrition are inseparably linked.
Overfat People Cannot Be “Perfectly Healthy”
We like to think of ourselves as perfectly healthy, even when we know that we are not.
We say things like, “Except for my diabetes, I am perfectly healthy,” or “Other than his
darned asthma and needing to lose 80 pounds, he is perfectly healthy.” We are shocked
when someone we deemed perfectly healthy dies suddenly from a heart attack or stroke.
But take note: people in perfect health simply do not drop dead. While perfect health is
our natural state, it occurs only when we take perfect care of ourselves.
How Much Body Fat Is Healthy?
In order to live healthfully throughout a lifetime, we must learn to maintain both
our weight and our body-fat percentage. For men, a healthy body-fat percentage runs in
the single digits. For women, the ideal range is about ten points higher. (It is certainly
possible for women to drop too low in body fat, despite what the glamour magazines
would have us believe. Women can develop infertility, osteoporosis, eating disorders,
hormonal imbalances, and other serious conditions when their body fat drops into the
single digits.)
Most mainstream guidelines from medical or fitness professionals run significantly
higher than my recommendations, as the following table illustrates.69
This discrepancy results from the fact that I equate health with fitness and
athleticism, essentially viewing the two as inseparable. In contrast, government, fitness,
and medical “experts” distinguish the athlete from the healthy individual, giving them
separate classifications, as if it were possible to be healthy and not athletic. Although we
can indeed feel good and live free of symptoms for several years as a sedentary
individual, this strategy is sure to fail over time. We should not fool ourselves into
believing that anything resembling true health is possible without regular, vigorous
Strategies for Increasing Muscle Mass
Increasing muscle mass is one way to decrease overall body fat percentage. As the
percentage of lean tissue increases, the percentage of fat tissue automatically decreases.
If you are thin but still carry a higher-than-healthful body fat percentage, this is an
excellent way to achieve your ideal body composition, because increasing muscle mass
has the secondary effect of facilitating fat loss. How does this occur? When we add
muscle, we increase our body’s caloric requirements. For many of us, there is a time
lapse while we become accustomed to eating more food. During this lag time, our bodies
commonly utilize stored fats to make up for the deficit in calories, reducing our body-fat
Unfortunately, muscle mass is easily lost. The phrase “use it or lose it” definitely
applies, as muscles must be used on an ongoing basis in order to grow and maintain size.
Day to day, muscle loss rarely accounts for even one-hundredth of one percent of our
body-weight fluctuations. Muscle loss can account for a fair amount of weight loss,
however, if an active person becomes totally sedentary, as in the case of the extended
bed rest that is required in instances of extreme sickness or recovery from a debilitating
accident. We can measure muscle atrophy within twenty-four hours of the initiation of
complete rest. Fortunately, muscles regain their prior size with relative ease when we
resume normal activities, even after months of convalescence or weeks of water fasting.
Of course, if we are active and then become unexpectedly sedentary and continue eating
as much or more than we did before, we will gain fat, as the body stores excess calories
as fat, not muscle.
Gaining muscle is the only truly healthful way to gain weight and increase size
without running the risk of creating hormonal imbalances that result from harboring
excess body fat. The only way to gain muscle weight is by “asking” your body to build
through the demands of strength-training activities. Pure strength training is technically
defined as “one repetition maximum,” or “1RM,” meaning you can lift that particular
weight a maximum of one time before muscular fatigue results. More often, people train
for strength by lifting weights in not more than four sets of one to five repetitions each.
Strength training a few times per week is all that is necessary to develop your new, lean
Losing or Gaining Fat … the Right and Wrong Way
The simplest method of losing fat is to consume fewer total calories each day than
the amount you use. Estimating calories consumed versus calories used can provide a
very good assessment of your potential overall rate of weight loss. (See Appendix D.
Resources for Diet Analysis) Given that a pound of fat contains 3,500 calories, if you
expend 115 calories per day more than you consume, you will fairly reliably lose one
pound per month. Such calculations are not necessary on an ongoing basis; typically you
only need to figure calories in versus calories out to develop an understanding and a
routine. Once you establish healthful daily habits, tracking your diet and exercise will
become a thing of the past.
Another way to achieve a net loss of calories for weight reduction is to make a
commitment to add regular exercise into your daily routine. You must be patient about
it, however, as briskly walking a mile per day only yields on average about a one-pound
weight loss over the course of a month. This assumes, of course, that all other factors,
including total calorie intake, remain relatively constant during that time.
The Truth Behind Detoxification
The tendency among raw fooders to attribute magical powers, such as “cleansing”
properties, to foods is nothing short of misguided. Raw foods do not cleanse; they are
simply the foods we are designed for. Consuming them provides the body the necessary
energy to relieve itself of toxins that have been held in suspension with water. The body
does this through its normal mechanisms—the organs of elimination and detoxification.
Our liver and kidneys are always working to detoxify us. When we consume the
standard American diet, these organs work overtime just to keep up, because we are
constantly ingesting as many toxins as we eliminate (or more). When we switch to raw
food, the liver and kidneys have a chance to catch up. They can finally make progress in
detoxifying the body, reducing its toxic load.
One pint of water weighs one pound, so weight loss can be dramatic when we are
losing water as a result of reducing the body’s toxic load. I have seen people lose twentyfive and even as much as forty pounds in the first week of switching to an all-raw diet.
Rarely does more than a pound or so of this weight loss actually represent a loss of fat.
As a rule, rapid weight changes always represent water weight losses or gains. Under no
circumstances can anybody lose a pound of fat per day, on any diet. Programs that
promise we will “lose up to 10 pounds in the first 48 hours” are deceptive. It is possible
to lose ten pounds of water in just a few hours, but only an extremely active person could
realistically lose much more than a pound of fat per week.
Sudden Weight Loss in New Raw Fooders
Several notable experiences are quite common when people start eating raw foods,
especially when they switch to a diet that is exclusively raw from one that was primarily
cooked. The first dramatic change that people frequently notice is a rapid and dramatic
loss of weight. This does not always happen, but it happens more often than not. Usually,
people perceive this as a good thing, because they have excess weight to lose. After they
lose the initial water weight in the first week or two on the raw diet, many people find
that they continue to lose weight, though much more slowly. It is likely that this
subsequent weight loss represents a loss of fat. Of course, at some point, even these
losses must be brought to a stop, or the person will simply fade away.
“I Thought I Had More Muscle!”
Most folks, after a few weeks or months of raw eating, are certain that their diet is
causing them to lose muscle. They have never seen themselves so thin. What actually
happens during weight loss is that we lose much of the padding (fat) around our muscles
and also the fat marbled within our muscles. In addition, on a raw diet, we begin to lose
the water that we once retained to dilute toxins. This water also added to the appearance
of inflated muscles. Many people mistake this excess fat and water as part of their
Often, people tell me that in a week or two on a raw diet they lost all their muscle.
This is an absolute physiological impossibility. In spite of what we have all heard, no
diet of any kind results in (any detectible) muscle loss—or muscle gain, for that matter.
If there were a diet that resulted in muscle gain, bodybuilders would be found in the
kitchen, instead of the gym. We lose or gain muscle due to variations in our physical
fitness programs, not through dietary shifts. In spite of what we have all been told,
consuming protein (or any other nutrient) will not assist in the muscle-building
process.70 If you believe such hype, you have been sold a bill of goods.
If they understood body composition, and were honest with themselves, these
people would more accurately say, “I thought I had much more muscle than I actually
do. Then when I lost the excess water that was inflating my muscles, I was forced to
accept the reality that I am not as well muscled as I thought I was.”
Dehydration and Body Weight
Dehydration is considered a contributor to more diseases of lifestyle than any other
single factor except fat. When our toxin-to-water ratio is skewed in the direction of
toxins, cellular function is compromised. This toxicity affects virtually every function in
the body. Correcting dehydration oftentimes remedies weight-loss difficulty, as organ
function and energy levels greatly improve.
The dehydration coin has two sides: is it literally a state of “not enough water” or is
it a condition of “too much toxin”? The correct answer is, “both.” When a man is about
to die from dehydration, the toxins within his body have become too concentrated for his
body to cope with. The amount of toxins do not increase; they are simply less diluted,
and therefore, more concentrated.
Few people would argue that dry-cooked foods (those not steamed or boiled) are
low in water. After all, if we put toast through a juicer, no liquid comes out. If we put a
pot of water in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour, most if not all of the water
evaporates off. The same thing happens to the water in food when it is dry-cooked (and
to a lesser extent when wet-cooked). The oven works just like a dehydrator. Most of us
just don’t realize how critical this issue is for our health.
Four Ways We Become Dehydrated
Hydration is an important factor in all aspects of our health, and even our weight.
When using a bioimpedance scale to measure body fat, we must consider our level of
hydration to obtain accurate readings. Both dehydration and water retention skew our
readings. Hydration also goes beyond the amount of water we consume, since
dehydration occurs for a variety of reasons.
Increased Toxic Load
The most common way that we become dehydrated is when our toxin intake rises
relative to our intake of water. Cooking produces many toxins that cause the body to
require additional water. Among the most virulent of these are the acrolein produced by
deep frying and the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons released during barbecuing and
other cooking methods that blacken or char our foods.
Two common products found in most households may in fact, be the most toxic
substances popularly consumed. Plain table salt is so toxic that even when extremely
diluted, as it is in sea water, it is still deadly. All sailors know that if they drink seawater
they will die of dehydration. Salt must be greatly diluted with water before the body can
tolerate it. Alcohol, the second deadly household poison, has a similar toxicity. It acts as
a diuretic and causes substantial water loss. Few substances dehydrate and impair us as
effectively as alcohol.
Low Water Intake vs. Toxic Load
The second way that we can become dehydrated is when water intake is low relative to
toxin intake. If we are to (correctly) assume that the necessary amount of water is in our
fresh plant foods before we cook them, we can be certain that an insufficient quantity is
left after we cook them.
Cooking removes water from food. This explains why a baked potato weighs so
much less than the same potato when it was raw. (Granted, cooking can be utilized as a
method of hydrating dry foods, as is the case when we boil rice or lentils, but this is the
exception, not the rule.) By driving off water, cooking effectively changes the water-totoxin ratio in food to favor toxins, while also raising the level of toxins in the food. So
cooking food results in a double whammy—not only does it remove water, but a great
many toxins are created in the process, increasing our need for water.
Unfortunately, it is not part of human nature to drink water; we must learn to do so.
Let me explain. In nature, at various times throughout the day, many animals will visit
the “water hole” to drink. Some animals, especially the grazers, are notorious for
drinking huge quantities of water. The anthropoid apes, however, (biologically, humans
are classed as anthropoid apes) are rarely observed to drink water, but they can do so if
necessary. Their tongues are not designed to lap water the way carnivores do, so they
have to suck water if they must drink. Imagine the position they would have to assume in
order to drink: essentially, they would be blinded to enemies as they held down their
heads and shoulders while vulnerably exposing their private parts.
Drinking water is simply not necessary for the anthropoids. Except for humans, they
do not cause their own thirst. They do not participate in the activities, nor do they eat the
foods, that result in thirst. Remember, these animals live in the tropics, often in intense
heat, where we would expect that they would need to drink copious quantities of water. It
is certain that the anthropoids get plenty of exercise and are quite fit; we have all seen
films of them climbing straight up and down trees and vines effortlessly. In fact, pound
for pound, they are about five times stronger than humans. They spend most of their day
in the shade. They rest during the midday heat. They eat a low-fat raw diet composed
primarily of whole, fresh, ripe, organic, fruits and vegetables. (About 1% of the
anthropoid diet is composed of insects, small reptiles, and other flesh foods.)
Increased Endogenous Toxin Production
The third way we become dehydrated is when our “endogenous” toxin production rises
relative to our water intake. Every cell in the body produces toxic waste products as a
result of its own metabolism, and many tissues, glands, and organs also produce toxins
as a result of their metabolism. These internally produced toxins are referred to as
endogenous toxins. (In contrast, toxins that come from outside the body are referred to as
exogenous toxins. These are the ones that come from our food, the air, and other aspects
of our environment.)
As our levels of physical activity or stress rise, so does the quantity of endogenous
toxins we produce, as cellular output increases. This is one of the reasons that we are told
to drink water before, during, and after exercise and other physical pursuits—to dilute
the toxins we produce.
High Water Output
When we lose water more rapidly than we replace it, we can also become dehydrated.
Altitude, heat, sunshine, wind, humidity, and exercise are among the primary factors that
can cause us to lose water. Sometimes, these water losses are not obvious to us. For
instance, in conditions of high heat and low humidity, especially if the wind is blowing,
our perspiration can evaporate as rapidly as we produce it (compared to conditions of
high humidity, where dripping sweat grabs our attention). In low humidity, our skin and
clothing remain cool and dry, even though we are perspiring freely.
We can lose far more water than we realize in an airplane, where the air is
pressurized to an altitude of 6,000 feet and incredibly dry. Such insidious water loss is
sometimes considered more dangerous than the overt sweating incurred with exercise in
conditions of high humidity. 71 In both instances, however, we must replace the water
that we lose.
We do not have a high tolerance for variations in our ratio of water to toxins. The
average American experiences symptoms of dehydration after losing just 1% of body
weight as water (about 2% of normal water volume).72 For a two-hundred-pound man,
that equates to just two pounds, or one quart, of water. Medically diagnosable mild
dehydration begins at the level of 5% fluid loss, and 15% is considered severe.73
In many major fitness competitions, contestants are weighed periodically
throughout the event. Since all rapid weight changes almost exclusively represent water
weight, fairly accurate levels of dehydration can be assessed simply through the
weighing process. Should an athlete show a 5% loss of weight, he or she is considered to
be so dangerously dehydrated as to be removed from the competition. For the onehundred-pound female triathlete, a five-percent weight loss amounts to only five pounds
(equal to five pints, or ten cups) of water.
The medical community tells us that we should drink 8 to 12 eight-ounce glasses of
water daily. Although they don’t express it as such, this recommendation is necessary to
make up for the dehydration caused by the toxins in our foods. Interestingly, the example
above shows us that an athlete will be removed from competition for being as dehydrated
as the average American! If this degree of dehydration is so hazardous to conditioned
athletes (people who spend much of their lives adapting to extremes), imagine how
dangerous it is to the less-fit individual.
It makes much more sense to remove the cause of the problem, rather than to
continue the cause and introduce a remedy. Drinking huge quantities of water after
causing extreme dehydration is not the healthiest option. It does not matter whether the
cause is the consumption of cooked, salted, or dehydrated foods or exogenous toxins.
Although “the solution to pollution is dilution,” it is far better to avoid the pollution in
the first place.
People can become dehydrated when making dietary changes if they are not aware
that such a problem could arise. Troublingly, some dietary programs include such
dehydrating practices as consuming a lot of salt and drinking minimal water. It should be
stressed that dehydration is dangerous, and it impairs all other functions in the body.
Avoid any dietary regimen that induces a state of dehydration, at all costs.
Are You Dehydrated?
Approximately 75% of the population is chronically dehydrated and simply doesn’t
know it, because their symptoms seem normal to them.74 Having lived with their
symptoms for so long, they do not even know what a healthful level of hydration would
feel like. When they finally achieve normal, healthy levels of hydration as a result of
improvements in lifestyle, people sometimes think there is a problem; they have never
before experienced proper hydration.
Although dehydration has many symptoms, one of the most common is fatigue. Of
course, many factors can result in fatigue, but if you are fatigued, consider whether
dehydration might be the cause. Other clear indicators of dehydration include the
Your urine is deep yellow or dark, rather than almost clear.
You urinate fewer than six times in twenty-four hours. Eight to twelve times per day
is considered a healthy frequency.
You would describe the volume of urine that you void as “scanty” rather than
If you are curious about the effects of chronic dehydration, the table below outlines
some of the consequences of fluid loss on the body:75
Chapter 10. Overcoming the Challenges of Going Raw
Only a few people have continually maintained a completely raw diet over a period
of years or decades. For many folks, the raw diet is an experiment that fails rapidly.
Initial results are deemed positive, when a person has weight to lose, but for those who
are already thin, the first response tends to be very negative, due to rapid weight loss and
subsequent fatigue. Of course, everyone blames the diet, ignoring how they actually
applied it. The old adage “practice makes perfect” rings true, but it should be amended to
say, “perfect practice makes perfect,” for those who fail early tend to give up rather than
persist and pull through.
Calories Per Bite
A crucial stepping stone for success in a healthy raw diet is understanding the
concept of “calories per bite,” or caloric density. Raw fruits and vegetables yield far
fewer calories per bite than cooked foods or fatty foods, so we must eat more bites in
order to consume sufficient calories. Just as a bodybuilder trains to lift more weight or a
runner trains to run longer races, in order to succeed on the 80/10/10 diet, we must train
our bodies and minds, over time, to eat the kind of volume we would eat in our natural
Every once in a while, we hear an isolated fact about what an animal in the wild
eats. The volume is always staggering to our imagination. Animals such as sea otters eat
30% of their weight in food each day. 76 Lions have been known to eat eighty pounds of
meat in one meal.77 I have watched little capuchin monkeys (the type that organ grinders
used to train) eat banana after banana after banana. Our perspective of “normal” volume
has been skewed by the low-water, low-fiber, high-fat meals we have been eating all our
Cooking Reduces Volume
Due to the reduced water and fiber found in cooked foods, we are accustomed to eating
small-volume meals. By eating cooked foods our whole lives, our stomachs never
developed their potential elasticity. 78 However, it is not too late. For the new fruit eater,
the unnaturally poor flexibility of the stomach muscle causes a feeling of fullness after
eating a relatively small volume of fruit and calories. Upon adopting a raw program,
many people attempt to solve this problem by adding fat in order to make a meal more
sustaining and more calorically dense. They add oil to their fruit smoothies, nuts and
seeds to their fruit desserts, and avocados and other fats to their vegetable salads.
To give you a sense of the magnitude of the divergence in calories per bite between
cooked and raw foods, let’s take an extreme example. A slice of a large pan crust Round
Table “Montague’s All Meat Marvel” pizza contains 350 calories. At an estimated six
bites per slice, that’s about 60 calories per bite, the same number of calories as a 12ounce head of lettuce. If four slices of pizza filled you up, it would take about the same
(very small) volume of lettuce to also fill you up, in terms of sheer bulk. But the lettuce
wouldn’t be satiating, because it would have provided only perhaps one hundredth of the
calories. To actually eat the same number of calories from lettuce that you got from
eating the four slices of pizza, you would have to eat six heads of lettuce per slice of
pizza, or one head of lettuce per bite! When we do the math on this example, we get a
staggering result: we would have to eat 24 heads of lettuce to consume the same number
of calories in four slices of pizza!
Dehydrated Foods
One of the reasons that people like cooked food is that cooking intensifies flavors. Many
people new to the raw food diet gravitate toward dehydrated foods, because the
dehydrator functions quite similarly to the oven and produces dishes reminiscent of
those cooked in an oven. Water deficient, these foods are more condensed calorically,
and in terms of flavor, than their raw counterparts.
Dehydrated foods take up less space than the same foods eaten whole. As with
cooked foods, their compact size disrupts our natural satiety triggers, which respond (in
part) to volume. Dehydrated foods also take longer to digest because of their complexity
and dryness. For both of these reasons, we tend to overeat dehydrated or cooked foods
before we realize we are full. A similar thing happens with dried fruits, which, in
addition to being low in volume, also release their sugars more slowly. These two factors
contribute to our tendency to overeat them, a phenomenon not common among people
who eat whole, fresh fruit.
We compound these problems when we add the various fats (oils, avocados, nuts,
seeds, olives, coconut meat, and the like) used freely among raw foodists to make their
dehydrated dishes look and taste similar to their cooked food counterparts. Added to
low-calorie vegetable recipes, fat becomes the overwhelming caloronutrient in the entire
dish. Many dehydrated raw entrées such as lasagna, pizza, and chili offer 50 to 80% of
their calories from fat, sometimes even more.
Dishes of this sort slow digestion, forcing foods to be delayed in the stomach and
giving us that “stuffed” feeling we have come to associate with satiation, even though
they do not contain the volume that our stomachs are designed to handle. The fact is that
most people consume their food in an extremely condensed form—cooked, dehydrated,
and fatty—and are eating a far smaller volume of food than is truly healthy. This
concentration of our food is part of the reason we tend to overeat in terms of total
Contrary to popular mythology, there is no reason to think of dehydrated fruits or
vegetables as “super” or “special” in terms of nutrition. Certainly they are not as
nutritious as their fresh counterparts, in any quantity. Supplement vendors publish
convincing literature to convince you that their green powders or “whole-food-based”
supplements supply concentrated nutrition in amounts you could not get from fresh fruits
and vegetables. But taking them can serve only to imbalance you, as even in deficiency
conditions, we do not need more of any nutrient than we can get in a variety of whole,
fresh, ripe, raw plants eaten in sufficient quantity to maintain our body weight.
Of course, low-temperature dehydration causes less nutrient damage than cooking,
but dehydrated foods are nutritionally far inferior to fresh food, regardless of processing
method. Not only that, but eating them dehydrates us, increasing relative bodily toxicity,
and requiring yet more water to be consumed to maintain proper hydration. The eight to
twelve glasses of water we are told to drink every day are a good indicator of how low in
water—or if you prefer, how toxic—our diets really are.
More Bites and Raw Success!
The challenge of eating more bites is often one that people are not prepared for, as
evidenced by the considerable weight loss common among new raw fooders. After initial
water weight losses, if a person still loses weight regularly, he or she is very likely
undereating in terms of total calories. (Digestive, absorptive, or assimilative problems
could also contribute to the problem, but these must be considered the exception, not the
rule.) While a huge percentage of the Western world’s population is suffering from
impaired digestion and compromised absorption,79 these conditions tend to self-correct
when the causes (high-fat, cooked, processed, toxic foods unsuited to our physiological
design) are eliminated.
Eventually, most people agree that eating more food per day is not a hardship, but
one of the many rewards of healthful eating. The 80/10/10 diet is among just a handful of
healthful plans that allows you to eat as much of the recommended foods as you care
How Do I Eat That Much Fruit?
With 80/10/10 firmly in mind, we return to the question of how to obtain the calories we
need, now that high-fat, low-fiber, low-water foods are removed from the diet. To get
80% of your calories from the carbohydrates in fruit, you will have to create some
dramatic new eating habits, perhaps more dramatic than any dietary change you have
ever made. As you drop the fat from your diet, you must significantly increase your daily
fruit consumption, a habit that takes practice to develop. The good news is that your
health and your waistline will show you immediate results to let you know you are
heading in the desired direction.
One tactic to achieve more bites, and to support our caloric needs, is to start with
several fruit meals per day, approximately four. Over time, depending on your exercise
program and other healthful habits, you will be able to reduce this number of meals
down to three and then possibly even two. Also, make a practice of eating just one or two
bites more at each meal than you otherwise would. The elasticity of your stomach will
promptly accommodate the extra bites, just as all of your other muscles would elongate
if you were to adopt a yoga practice. I must stress: the goal here is not to eat until you
hurt but to gently encourage your digestive system to regain its flexibility.
You don’t have to make this transition all at once, either. If you are not ready to eat
just fruit for your breakfast and lunch meals, it is perfectly acceptable to simply begin
your meals with fruit. You can eat all the fruit you care for at the start of the meal, and
then follow the fruit with other foods. Over time, the amount of fruit you desire at the
beginning of the meal will increase. Eventually, you will be able to eat a satiating and
calorie-sufficient meal from fruit that will hold you all the way until the next mealtime
comes around.
Satiation—Satisfying Hunger and Appetite
Hunger is a sensation we are all familiar with, but it is often confused with other
aspects of eating. The goal of hunger is to satisfy a nutritional requirement for
carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, coenzymes, and all other
nutrients. We are driven to eat to fill this need and rewarded by the pleasure of it.
Because hunger is the general desire for food, when one is truly hungry, any food will be
Appetite, on the other hand, is specific—we desire a specific food or foods.
Appetite is also the socially acceptable word for craving, which in turn is the socially
acceptable word for addiction. An example of the difference between appetite and
hunger goes as follows: When a person says, “I am hungry” and you offer him lettuce, he
is likely to say, “I am not hungry for lettuce, but I do have an appetite for chocolate. Do
you have any chocolate?” If this person were truly hungry, the lettuce would have been
perfectly acceptable. Their wording is accurate: what they really have is appetite … or I
might suggest, addiction.
Malnutrition is also a powerful appetite trigger. 80 When we lack essential nutrients,
we crave food. Unfortunately, malnourished individuals often eat more of the wrong
foods in a vain attempt to control their appetites. For example, obese people, who are
always malnourished due to eating unhealthful foods, generally seek to satisfy their
cravings with the same foods that caused their malady, and they do this over and over
again. The nutritional density of fruit is yet another factor that makes it so satiating and
all but impossible to overeat.
Satiation, defined as full satisfaction, is what we truly desire from our food. To
fully satisfy yourself at mealtime is a more challenging task than you might think, for
there are many aspects to this issue. Are we simply talking nutrition, or do we consider
emotional facets as well? Is satiation simply about quantity (bulk), or is quality also a
We know one thing for certain: whether you eat in a restaurant, at a friend’s house,
or at home, typically a dessert is offered as the last course of any meal. Desserts are
known to be satiating; the carbohydrates ensure this effect.81 We can avoid appetite
triggers by choosing the right foods, for the right reasons, for true hunger.
Can Fats Ever Satisfy?
Fat is a very difficult nutrient to digest. It passes through the stomach and intestinal tract
more slowly than other nutrients. Because of this, it is easy to overeat fat, and in the
process, stress your digestive capacities beyond their limits. A stuffed feeling results, if
you are lucky. The less fortunate end up with digestive ailments of varying severity.
Almost every digestive disorder is related to the overconsumption of fat.
Emotional Eating
One of the primary ways we handle painful emotions is to literally “eat ourselves
numb,” with dense, hard-to-digest foods—the so-called “comfort foods.” This is
effective because of the nature of our nervous systems. Our bodies have a finite amount
of nerve energy at any given time. The digestion of food and the conduction of emotions
each demand so much energy that they cannot be performed simultaneously.
A classic example to demonstrate this property of our nervous system is a funeral,
where some people are grieving so intensely they cannot eat at all, while others cannot
stop eating.
As we lighten our diets to vegetarian, vegan and eventually raw, we quite commonly
become more aware of our emotional selves. When we commit to eating a raw diet, we
gravitate toward fatty foods to provide emotional numbing, as most fresh fruits are not
sufficient sedatives to overcome emotional distress. Usually this leads to the
consumption of exorbitant amounts of nuts or seeds, which are easy to overeat, because
they do not quickly trigger satiation. Digestive distress and undue suffering result from
this behavior.
The answer to all this lies not in consuming food at all, but in maintaining
emotional poise and developing the ability to fully feel our emotions.
Fats have several factors working against them when it comes to satiety. First, fats
pack many calories into tiny packages. Because volume is one of the key factors in
experiencing satiation, it is difficult to eat enough volume of a fatty food to feel satiated,
without feeling sick first.
Second, the brain monitors blood-sugar levels constantly as a method of
determining hunger. As blood-sugar levels rise, hunger decreases. No corollary rapid
hunger reaction occurs in the case of blood fat, and even if it did, dietary fat takes a
relatively long time to reach the bloodstream, often requiring twelve to twenty-four
hours from the time it is eaten. If you eat an entire meal of fatty foods, you still won’t be
satiated. You will very likely resort to eating a sweet dessert at the end of the meal to
finally satisfy your appetite. The idea that eating fat keeps you satiated is simply untrue.
Sweet Fruits Win Every Time!
When we eat sweet fruits, which are rich in simple sugars, the blood-sugar level rises
gently, almost immediately, as we discussed in Chapter 2. The sweetness of these highly
nutritious foods makes them difficult to overeat. And because of their copious water and
fiber content, fruits supply relatively high volume in a low-calorie package, further
making it difficult to eat too much of them. We have all been taught that sweets will
satiate us, and we have come to rely upon this fact by choosing to eat our sweet desserts
at the end of our meals.
When we eat sweet desserts at the end of our meals, it indicates two things:
No matter how much food we ate, it likely did not satisfy our appetite, or else we
would not have been tempted by a sweet dessert.
We ate insufficient simple carbohydrates during the meal, leaving us craving those
very carbohydrates at the end of the meal. This is evidence of our natural and
substantial need for simple carbohydrates.
Had we eaten sufficiently of fruit at the start of the meal, it is likely that we would
not have desired other foods. No other food group matches the ability of fruit to satiate
Monomeals: Eating One Food at a Time
Eating a single-ingredient “monomeal” of fruit is an extremely pleasurable
experience quite simply because it is so satiating and yet, so uncomplicated. The
minimalism of the meal runs counter to our habitual multiple-food approach, with its
accompanying titillation of the tastebuds, thereby allowing us to avoid addiction to
stimulation and overeating.
Judging from the way most people eat, I feel safe in saying that addiction stems
from variety. Because the mono-fruit meal does not excite the body, and is easily
digested, it does not leave us dulled and fatigued after eating, but rather engaged and
clear of mind. We are left both perfectly satisfied and mentally poised.
At first attempt, the monomeal may seem “boring,” because we are so accustomed
to the stimulation of eating multi-ingredient meals. Over time, the simplicity of monofruit meals improves digestion and heightens your senses, so that you can pick up the
nuances of every bite of raw plant foods. As an added benefit, you will be able to better
recognize when you are actually satisfied.
Am I Supposed to Feel Full?
Given that the key to eating for fullness while simultaneously consuming the right
number of calories for our bodies is to eat high-volume, nutrient-rich, simplecarbohydrate foods, then which foods should predominate? The truth is, the human body
has only a certain capacity. While it is possible to get adequate nutrition from a variety
of different food sources, it is more easily obtained from some foods than from others.
For instance, lettuce is highly nutritious in terms of nutrients per calorie, but it would be
extremely difficult—essentially impossible due to the finite nature of our digestive
capacity—to consume sufficient lettuce to meet our caloric requirements. (At 50 calories
for a 10-ounce head, we would have to eat 40 heads a day to consume 2,000 calories).
At the opposite end of the spectrum, it is possible to put the micronutrients required
to meet our total daily nutrient requirements into a single small pill. (Of course, our
macronutrient needs—water, fiber, carbohydrate, protein, and fat—do not lend
themselves to consumption in pill form.) Were you to eat such a pill, however, the lack
of volume or bulk would result in a tremendous and unyielding sense of hunger that
could only be satisfied by the consumption of more volume.
How do we get volume, nutrients, and simple sugars, all at the same time? We eat
sweet fruit. Because of its high water and fiber content, fruit provides more volume with
fewer calories than any food category except vegetables. Hence, we can meet our caloric
needs without exceeding them, while fulfilling our innate desire to consume foods in
large volume. Because of its high volume, low calories, and abundance of nutrients
including simple sugars, eating a sweet meal predominated by fruit is bound to be
satiating every time.
Chapter 11. 80/10/10 in Practice
How does your daily diet differ when you learn to eat the low-fat raw vegan way?
On most days, you will eat juicy fruit for breakfast, sweeter fruit for lunch, and all the
acid fruit you care for before a vegetable-based dinner. It is really that simple.
Most raw fooders, and anyone else who has been taught to avoid fruit or to eat it in
somewhat limited quantities, are initially dumbfounded by this formula. Responses
range from “I could never do that” to the full range of nutritional questions that have
already been covered in this text.
For people transitioning from a more mainstream diet, the concept of eating fruits
and vegetables makes a lot of sense. After all, fruits and vegetables are the true health
foods. With the state of human health at its absolute all time lowest, isn’t it time that we
started eating fruits and vegetables as if our very lives depended upon them?
While people also tend to intuitively sense the wisdom of a low-fat diet, the idea of
committing to a completely vegan diet may seem a bit mentally or emotionally
challenging at first. But it makes more sense all the time, and the number of vegans is
rising every day.
Slow and Steady
Once people educate themselves about a new positive behavior and become
convinced that they desire to incorporate it into their lives, I always encourage them to
do so as quickly as possible. Yet, you can be easy on yourself when adopting the
80/10/10 way of life. A gradual transition may be the best that you can hope for if you
have amassed a collection of mental, emotional, or habitual blocks that would make a
sudden and total switchover difficult.
Direction is more important than speed for most people when it comes to successful
transition. Imposing upon yourself the unnecessary pressure to make “all or nothing”
changes often leads to frustrating failure. When people stretch themselves too quickly,
they often “snap back” into their prior habits.
By decreasing the fat percentage in your diet even one point per week, you can
achieve the full benefits of 80/10/10 in less than a year. After that, you have the rest of
your life to reap the harvest of health that you have sown. This is not a diet program to
be used temporarily, but a healthful eating program for life.
I wrote this book to guide people to a low-fat plant-based raw foods diet. No other
program exists for this purpose. However, many other low(er)-fat plant-based diet
programs exist. Some people choose to transition more gradually by consuming fruit for
breakfast and lunch, with a simple low-fat cooked meal plus a raw salad at night. Over a
period of months, the salad and other raw dishes nudge out the cooked components, until
100% raw is achieved. If you are interested in such a path, don’t feel guilty about it. Give
yourself permission to take advantage of the myriad of resources available to support
your health in the most appropriate way for you right now.
For some folks, there is a greater sense of urgency than for others, as health issues
can impose themselves powerfully. If that is the case, feel free to transition your diet as
rapidly as you can. There is no danger in converting to 80/10/10 immediately. One 89year-old man I worked with went from standard eating to 80/10/10 overnight, and never
looked back.
You do not have to think of yourself as becoming a vegetarian, vegan, or raw fooder
to be an 80/10/10 fan. Just keep decreasing the fat and increasing the amount of fruits
and vegetables you add into your already-existing program.
Actual Stories of Transition to 80/10/10
The following are actual posts (slightly edited for space) from my VegSource
discussion board.
From: turtle (
Subject: transition from high fat raw to low fat raw
Date: December 17, 2004 at 8:40 am PST
I have been doing the high fat … nuts, seeds, and oils raw food way of eating and
would like to transition over to the low-fat fruit-based 811. Is there a good way to
transition? I would like to hear people’s experiences with this … so if any of you have
any suggestions, I am all ears!
I know that I am eating way too many nuts and seeds and that this has not supported
my well being. I have found it difficult to let go of the nuts and seeds on an every meal
basis. Thanks for your help.
From: Janie (
Subject: Re: transition from high fat raw to low fat raw
Date: December 17, 2004 at 7:39 pm PST
Since it seems that you have already been attempting to go cold turkey and it hasn’t
been working out, it seems that transitioning may be the way for you. I did a low-fat
transition myself at first by keeping my overt fats to 10% of my calories or less, which
translated to about 20% or less of the amount of calories I was eating at the time. Later I
brought it down to 10% or less overall.
The way I would approach transitioning from where you are to a lower fat way
would be to try to do two adjustments:
I would try to eat more calorie-dense fruits
I would also try to move my nuts or seeds eating to my evening meal only
Then after that, I would work on decreasing the fat from the nuts and seeds overall
so that I approach 10% or less, more and more often, until I’m doing it all the time (on
I would approach it as a transition, and be easy on yourself psychologically with
your slip-ups (if you have them) by just letting them go and realizing that you have
another opportunity to get going again towards your goals coming up as early as your
next meal choice. You may find as I did with going 100% raw again, that the transition
period ends up being shorter than you thought it would be. ;-)
From: Jaime (
Subject: Re: transition from high fat raw to low fat raw
Date: December 17, 2004 at 12:20 pm PST
I found that my ideal was to go cold turkey, but I ended up transitioning, as 811
involves more than just diet, in my opinion.
My transition began months before, if not years. I read the posts of others on this
board, took note of how my body reacted to particular foods, noted what worked and
what didn’t, and then practiced what worked more and more. I cut out supplements,
gourmet raw food and dehydrated food, frozen food, spices and salt, onions and garlic,
raw dairy, and juice (even raw juice).
I used to think raw juice wasn’t so bad, then I’d have it and would feel so
imbalanced I’d eat some raw vegan sushi or raw cheese, then I’d be off 811 completely.
I’d say I played this back-and-forth game for a year or more. I would think 811 doesn’t
work, but really I was not doing it completely. So I decided to incorporate everything I
knew that worked.
For me what works is: getting loads of sleep (up to 12 hours a night) as this helps
with 811 immensely, exercising before eating (I used to exercise after), eating one or two
meals per day, waiting until 11 a.m. or noon to eat, having only one type of fruit per
meal, and following that with one type of green such as celery or lettuce, no raw juice,
raw vegan food only, no dates or bananas unless they are ripe and fresh picked, and
eating whole foods.
I did not add all of these things at once. It took me about a month to add them and I
still consider myself in transition. So I guess what I am saying is 811 is more than just
percentages and involves whole foods, rest, exercise, fresh air, sunlight, etc. Once I set
my intention for how I was going to follow 811 it took time to actually put it into
practice. Also, I am constantly learning what is useful and what is not and make
adjustments accordingly. So I think this whole thing is a process, and intentions of “cold
turkey” do not manifest, at least not for me.
From: Dr. Doug Graham (
Subject: Another way
Date: December 17, 2004 at 1:17 pm PST
(Author’s note: I posted this message to offer another perspective to Jaime’s
message above, which emphasizes giving up certain foods. Approaching 80/10/10 with a
focus toward the foods and other practices to add into your life, rather than those to
eliminate, can make all the difference in your success with—and enjoyment of—the
80/10/10 plan.)
I recommend that the transition from standard American raw to 811 be done as
Increase the percentage of whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic plants in your diet, at
each meal.
Increase the percentage of fruit in your diet, at the beginning of each meal.
Increase the total carbs in your diet, at each meal.
Increase the quantity of fresh whole ripe raw organic greens in your diet until you
reach close to 3% of total daily calories or slightly more.
Increase the amount of sleep you get until you can honestly say that you are getting
“enough” each night.
Increase the amount of physical activity you perform until it accounts for a
minimum of 2/5 (40%) of your total calories used.
Hope this helps,
Dr. D.
The Formula
So, what are we talking about in terms of foods? 80/10/10 works out easily and
naturally if your calories break down approximately as follows:
90 to 97% from sweet and nonsweet fruits.
2 to 6% from tender, leafy greens and celery.
0 to 8% from everything else (other vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, plus fatty
fruits, nuts, and seeds).
You can generally accomplish this with two or three large fruit meals during the
day, plus a large salad in the evening. Fruit predominates heavily, yet you consume as
many greens as you like.
Average Caloronutrient Ratios by Food Category
Here is a rough estimate of the average caloronutrient ratio for various whole raw
food categories, expressed in terms of percentage of calories from carbohydrates,
protein, and fat (C/P/F):
Fruits average 90/5/5
Vegetables average 70/20/10
Nuts average 10/10/80
Seeds average 18/12/70
Avocados average 20/5/75
How Much Overt Fat?
When contemplating reducing your fat consumption to 10% or less of total calories
consumed, you must remember that somewhere around 5% of your calories will likely
come from fat even if you eat only fruits and vegetables. Thus, as a rule of thumb, you
should plan on having about 5% of your calories in the form of nuts, seeds, avocados, nut
butters, and the like. On a 2,000-calorie diet, you should be shooting for overt fat
consumption in the neighborhood of 100 calories (5% of 2,000 = 100).
What does this mean in terms of food? It means that in a single day, an average
person endeavoring to follow the 80/10/10 plan would consume in the neighborhood of:
1/3 of a medium-sized avocado (6-ounces edible portion), or
0.6 ounces of almonds (about 15 nuts), or
20 medium olives, or
less than 1 tablespoon of oil.
There is another option, however. You could choose to eat no overt fats at all for a
day or two, or longer, relying exclusively upon eating a sufficient quantity of fruits and
vegetables to meet your calorie need. By doing so, you will have effectively “saved up”
for a day when you could eat a moderate quantity of fatty food without feeling guilt or
that you had gone off of the program. If you average your caloronutrient intake for the
week you should still be able to achieve 80/10/10 in this fashion.
Of course, if you really overdo it on fatty foods, you will notice it right away and
likely again the next morning. The tiredness, foul mouth, slowed digestion and
elimination, and other sensations are too pronounced to ignore. They are great
motivating factors to bring you right back to the joys of the straight and narrow
How Many Calories?
In the beginning, most people do not eat enough raw foods to obtain their necessary
daily calories, because they are used to eating concentrated cooked foods. As I described
in Chapter 10, you will have to eat a much larger volume of whole fresh fruits and
vegetables to obtain the same number of calories that you would from cooked meats and
starches, because raw fruits and vegetables are not as calorically dense. They contain a
large amount of water and fiber—essential nutrients to be sure, but these two items add a
great deal of volume to our food.
Another obstacle most people must overcome in order to succeed with the 80/10/10
raw diet, is the fear of consuming fruit for the major portion of their calories. In general,
fruits are considerably higher in calories than vegetables and leafy greens. So it makes
sense that most of the raw food diet be made up of fruit, complemented by large salads
to provide essential minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Determining caloric needs is not an exact science. There is room for a fair amount
of flexibility, especially on a day-to-day basis. Averaged over a year’s time, we will
likely find that people who maintain their weight consume a predictable range of calories
based upon their size, muscularity, and activity level.
10 Times Body Weight = BMR
Below I offer two guidelines for estimating the number of calories you should consider
eating each day. Both of them begin by multiplying your body weight (or your
ideal/desired body weight) by 10. This provides a very rough estimate of your resting
basal metabolic rate (BMR)—the number of calories required to operate your brain,
organs, and all essential functions.
For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you can estimate that you need somewhere
around 1,500 calories per day, plus or minus about 10%, just to maintain your basic
metabolism at rest. Then, depending on your activity level, I offer the following
Calorie Guidelines for Healthy (Athletic) People
My optimal calorie-consumption guideline is likely to be different than the advice you
may find elsewhere, and somewhat higher than the American average. This is because I
base my recommendation upon a healthful (high) level of physical activity—the level
that humans would have to maintain in order to obtain sufficient food in a more natural
Nature intended humans to have to cover large expanses of ground on foot, to climb
trees, and even to swim when necessary in order to obtain food and warmth. The
resulting fitness level would be considerably higher than that of the average American,
as would the average calorie output. As more food would be consumed, so would a
greater number of nutrients be available. Good nutrition literally hinges upon us being fit
enough to be healthy.
With the above in mind, I suggest that a healthy athletic person should utilize at
least as many calories in physical endeavors as they use for their resting BMR. (Resting
BMR is equivalent to 10 times your ideal body weight). This means, for instance, that a
150-pound man who uses 1,500 calories as his baseline should also use at least another
1,500 calories in his activities for the day, on average, for a total of 3,000 calories.
Using the 80/10/10 diet, nutritional intake would be vastly better than the American
average for all nutrients. Fitness levels would need to be increased, of course, in order to
achieve that level of activity, but this can be done gradually.
Calorie Guidelines for Less-Active People
To be abundantly clear, I would like to reiterate: Good nutrition literally hinges upon us
being fit enough to be healthy. By this I mean to say that even the most “perfect” diet
will never result in true health unless it is accompanied by high-level fitness and all of
the other essential elements of healthful living (see sidebar entitled “Fundamental
Elements of Health”). I cannot recommend highly enough that you exert at least as much
attention and effort into upleveling your level of fitness as you do into learning about
and achieving optimal nutrition.
That said, if you are a less-active person wending your way toward fitness and
health, here are some guidelines for caloric intake.
If your work and the rest of your day is relatively sedentary, add another 200
calories to the BMR estimate described above. Then add calories for exercise, perhaps
300–600 calories per session. It could be more or less, depending upon the frequency,
intensity, and duration of your fitness sessions. If you also have a physically demanding
job, you might require another 800 to 1,600 additional calories or more.
Thus, a sedentary woman who weighs 130 pounds must eat about 1,300 calories
simply to maintain her body weight. Let us suppose that she needs another 260 calories
(an additional 20%) per day to meet her physical needs such as puttering around the
house, going up stairs, or to the mailbox, etc. This hypothetical woman would need to eat
food that supplied about 1,560 calories per day.
A large man of 280 pounds, who is fit and not fat, who participates in sports and
works in construction, would require roughly 2,800 calories for basal metabolism. Add
to that the 1,500 calories he expends at work each day and the 2,000 he needs for his
daily sports training. This active man needs to eat sufficient food to supply him with
approximately 6,250 calories per day. He has to consume four times as many calories as
the sedentary woman in our first example.
Calorie Comparison: 8 Ounces of Selected Foods
This chart demonstrates the tremendous range of caloric density among high-water
versus high-fat whole foods in the 80/10/10 program. In each case, the food item weighs
eight ounces. (Note that you would have to eat 42 servings of 8 ounces of lettuce, or 21
large heads, to get the same number of calories as one 8-ounce portion of macadamia
39 calories (1 small head romaine)
27 calories (½ medium)
41 calories (2 medium)
89 calories (2 medium)
109 calories (2 small)
147 calories (1 medium)
202 calories (2 medium)
362 calories (1 large)
1,254 calories (1.7 cups)
Sunflower seeds:
1,293 calories (1.5+ cups)
1,318 calories (1.7 cups or 200 nuts)
1,483 calories (2+ cups, or 57 nuts)
1,628 calories (1.8 cups, or 88 nuts)
How Much to Eat
To give you an example of the volume of fruits and vegetables required, let’s say
you need about 2,000 calories per day. A medium-sized banana has 105 calories; a large
honeydew melon has 461 calories; a medium peach has 39 calories; and a large simple
salad may have 175 calories (a large 20-oz. head of lettuce runs about 96 calories, and a
pound of nonsweet fruits has about 75 calories).
To consume 2,000 calories from raw foods, you would need to eat something like a
large honeydew melon for breakfast (461 calories), a 12-banana smoothie for lunch
(1,260 calories), 4 peaches before dinner (153), and a large salad for dinner (175). This
would provide 2,026 calories, with a 90/6/4 caloronutrient ratio (90% carbohydrates, 6%
protein, and 4% fat). If you didn’t have any physical activity that day, you might
eliminate two bananas and one of the peaches.
If it was a physical day, you could add half of a 6-oz. California avocado to the
salad. It would provide about 145 more calories, 111 of which would be from fat. The
caloronutrient ratio for the day would then be 86/6/9. Adding a whole avocado would
take the fat percentage for the day up to 13% … not a big deal, but it would be better to
add a few pieces of fruit to meet the extra caloric requirements of your exercise routine.
The Diet for a Lifetime
Just like the rings on a tree, life is about growth, which often requires change. The
80/10/10 diet may seem like a huge shift in your lifestyle in the beginning, but as the
rewards for taking care of your body unfold, you will come to see that the benefits of
living this way far outweigh the cost. Developing 80/10/10 as a lifestyle will enhance
every moment of your life to come. I applaud you for taking the first step to the new you.
Appendix A. Sample Menu Plans
This appendix contains four seasonal sample menus for the 80/10/10 lifestyle,
broken into one-week sections (seven days of meals for summer, autumn, winter, and
spring). Each two-page spread includes a day’s worth of recipes on the left-hand side and
a corresponding caloronutrient analysis chart on the right.
Each day’s menu plan includes a breakfast, lunch, and three-course dinner, handselected for seasonal freshness and designed to total approximately 2,000 calories. You
can easily increase or decrease the quantity of any ingredient, to adjust the recipes in the
direction of your desired caloric intake.
The smoothies, fruit salads, soups, dressings, vegetable salads, and slaws in this
section demonstrate the abundance of whole fruit and vegetable meals available on the
80/10/10 plan. This guide emphasizes fruits in season, when they are freshest and least
expensive. The 80/10/10 motto is, “simplicity at mealtime, variety throughout the year.”
As you become accustomed to this lifestyle, you will discover the joy of eating
seasonally and anticipating the taste sensations each new bounty of fruits brings. Feel
free to experiment! Use this guide as an inspirational tool to help you discover your own
favorite combinations.
Some recipes contain additional information, indicated by a dagger symbol (†), to
help answer your questions and smooth your transition to this way of eating. These
include helpful tidbits about fruit varieties and their availability, ideas for recipe
variations, and tips on buying, preparing, and eating the foods.
Don’t worry about your caloronutrient ratio at each meal, or even each day. The
80/10/10 guideline (at least 80% of calories from carbohydrates and at most 10% fat and
protein) is intended as an average—something to strive for over time. Thus, as you page
through the menu plan, you will see higher-fat days and lower-fat days … but by the end
of the week, the numbers all come out to 80/10/10, more or less.
The best way to really understand the caloronutrient ratio and get a true sense of the
level of fat in your own diet, is to weigh your food and enter numbers in an online dietanalysis program for about a week. We used as a basis for creating this
recipe guide.
Note that no two fruits are nutritionally identical. Each crop of produce (sometimes
even each piece) differs in caloronutrient ratio from the next, depending on such factors
as ripeness, soil quality, shipping environment, and time since harvest.
In addition, any attempt to standardize measures like “one apple” or “one head of
lettuce” (although we do so in the upcoming ingredient conversion charts) is subjective
at best, given the regional variability of produce. Thus, the only way to accurately
compare food quantities is to list ingredients by weight, rather than by the piece. All
weights refer to edible portions only, so be sure to remove peels, stems, cores, seeds, and
pits before you weigh your food.
Remember that each individual’s digestive capacity is different, as is their level of
exercise. Both of these factors affect our ability to absorb nutrients efficiently. As you
mature in this lifestyle, your natural digestive “fire” will increase.
For these reasons and others, the numbers in these charts are rough approximations
at best. Use them to steer your diet in a low-fat direction, but track your numbers in the
aggregate, and don’t get too hung up on the details.
Seasonal Availability of Produce
The following table offers an overview of domestic availability for common fruits
and vegetable fruits. It is a broad, general list, showing the greatest number of months
these foods are commonly obtainable at market nationwide, regardless of variety or
where they are grown.
For example, the papaya, shown to be available all year, includes several varieties,
from Florida, California, Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America—each of which produces
papayas at different times. Modern distribution and storage technologies allow us access
to many of these foods throughout the year (sometimes at great cost to our pocketbooks,
our health, and our natural resources).
In the following table, the dark-gray boxes represent a food’s peak domestic
seasonal distribution. The light-gray boxes represent the onset and decline of the season.
During this time, you may be able to find these foods domestically grown, but they tend
to come at a higher price and reduced quality. To achieve maximum freshness, I strongly
encourage you to choose locally grown, organic produce in season whenever possible.
If You Don’t Own a Scale…
We have listed the ingredients in the menu plan in terms of ounces and pounds, in
order to provide an accurate caloronutrient breakdown. If you do not have a scale at
home, the charts below can help you measure out the quantities called for. Eventually
you will become proficient in estimating weights and average caloric content of various
foods, a skill that will pay dividends in saved kitchen time.
Summer Menu Plan: Day One
4 lbs. watermelon
Directions: Slice melon in half and sit outside and bask in summer’s glory while
you spoon this delightful fruit!
Peachy Keen
1 lb. bananas
1 lb. peaches
Directions: Blend with 16 oz. water. Adjust water for desired consistency.
Course One: Mango Lime Delight!
1 lb. mangos
Juice of ½ a lime
Directions: Peel and slice mangos into a bowl. Drizzle with lime juice.
† 300 varieties of mangos are cultivated and studied in Florida alone. The U.S.
market sees roughly six varieties widely distributed: Haden, Tommy Atkins, kent, keitt,
ataulfo (also called honey, champagne, Manila, Asian, or yellow), and Haitian mangos.
Course Two: Sweet Tomatoes
8 oz. mango
8 oz. heirloom tomatoes
Directions: Blend ¾ of the mango with ¾ of the tomato. Cut the remaining mango
and tomato into small chunks, toss in and stir.
Course Three: Mango Red-Pepper Salad
1 lb. romaine lettuce
8 oz. each: cucumbers, mangos, and red peppers
4 oz. tomatoes
Directions: Chop the lettuce into a large bowl. Peel the cucumber if you prefer.
Thinly slice the cucumber and slice tomato into wedges; toss with salad greens. Peel and
pit the mango, core the pepper, and blend together as a dressing.
Summer Menu Plan: Day Two
4 lbs. watermelon
Directions: The other half of the large watermelon awaits you! Spoon the fruit into a
blender for a refreshing morning drink! Seeds can be avoided, as they will sink to the
bottom of the glass.
Just Bananas!
2 lbs. bananas
Directions: Blend into a smoothie with 16 oz. water, or enjoy them as they are.
† If you have a hard time eating very many bananas, it is likely they are not at peak
ripeness. The common variety of banana, the cavendish, is ripe when it is generously
speckled with brown spots and smells sweet. Prior to this state, they contain more starch
and are harder to digest. Proper fruit ripeness is essential to adequate nutrition and
Course One: Summer Berry Salad
4 oz. blueberries
4 oz. raspberries
8 oz. peaches
Directions: Mix in a bowl and enjoy!
Course Two: Peach Heirloom Tomato Soup
8 oz. peaches
8 oz. heirloom tomatoes
Directions: Blend ¾ of the peaches with ¾ of the tomato. Thinly slice the remaining
ingredients and stir them into the soup for added texture.
Course Three: Blackberry Sesame Salad
1 lb. lettuce
4 oz. tomatoes
8 oz. blackberries
2 tbsp. raw, mechanically hulled tahini.
Directions: Finely chop the lettuce into a large bowl. Slice the tomato into wedges
and toss with lettuce. Dress with a blend of blackberries and tahini
Summer Menu Plan: Day Three
Honeydew Melon
3 lbs. honeydew melon
Figgy Delicious
1 lb. figs
1 lb. bananas
Directions: Blend with 16 oz. water, or to desired consistency.
Course One: Mango and Raspberry
8 oz. mango
8 oz. raspberries
Directions: Slice or cube the mango into a bowl and sprinkle with raspberries.
Course Two: Delightfully Cool Cukes
8 oz. mango
8 oz. cucumbers
Directions: Thinly slice ¼ of the cucumber. Blend the rest with the mango, and mix
in sliced cucumber. Enjoy!
Course Three: Raspberry Salad
1 lb. green-leaf lettuce
8 oz. cucumber
8 oz. mango
8 oz. raspberries
Directions: Chop the lettuce into a bowl. Peel and slice the cucumber, and mix with
salad. Peel and pit the mango, then blend with raspberries to dress the salad.
† Another way to serve this is to slice the mango over the top and drop whole
raspberries over the salad.
Summer Menu Plan: Day Four
2 lbs. sweet cherries
Sweet Peach Salad
1 lb. bananas
1 lb. peaches
8 oz. blueberries
Directions: Slice the bananas and peaches into a bowl. Sprinkle the blueberries on
top. Enjoy!
Course One: Apricot Blueberry Salad
1 lb. apricots
8 oz. blueberries
Directions: Cut the apricots into large chunks and place them in a bowl. Blend the
blueberries into a sauce and pour over the apricots.
Course Two: Mango Fennel Soup
1 lb. mangos
1 large sprig of fennel
Directions: Blend 3/4 of the mangos and the bottom 3/4 of the fennel sprig. Pour
into a bowl. Cut the remaining mango into small chunks and mix into the soup. Garnish
with the top of the fennel sprig. Delicious!
Course Three: Apricot Celery Salad
1 lb. butter lettuce
4 oz. tomato
4 oz. celery
1 lb. apricots
Directions: Chop the lettuce into a bowl. Slice tomato and mix with the lettuce.
Blend apricots with celery and pour over the salad.
Summer Menu Plan: Day Five
3 lbs. cantaloupe
Mango and Banana
1 lb. bananas
1 lb. mangos
Directions: Slice, mix into a bowl, and devour!
Course One: Apricots
1 lb. apricots
Course Two: Orange Pepper Tomato Soup
8 oz. romaine lettuce
8 oz. tomatoes
8 oz. yellow or orange bell pepper
parsley sprig
Directions: Blend lettuce, ¾ of the tomatoes, and 3/4 of the bell pepper. Slice one
tomato, and stir into the soup. Garnish with the remaining bell pepper sliced into rings,
and the chopped parsley.
Course Three: Heirloom Avocado Salad
8 oz. romaine lettuce
8 oz. cucumber
12 oz. tomatoes
6 oz. California avocado
¼ cup cilantro
Directions: Peel and slice the cucumber into a bowl with the lettuce, chopped.
Separately, chop the tomato and avocado into chunks and stir together with finely
chopped cilantro until well blended, and then pour over salad.
Summer Menu Plan: Day Six
2 lbs. apricots
Banana Romaine Smoothie
2 lbs. bananas
8 oz. romaine lettuce
Directions: This equates to approximately 8 medium-sized bananas, weighed
without the peel. Blend and serve. It is surprisingly delicious!
Course One: Blackberry-Smothered Peaches
8 oz. peaches
8 oz. blackberries
Directions: Slice peaches into a bowl. Blend blackberries into a sauce and pour onto
the slices.
Course Two: Berry Green Soup
8 oz. blueberries
8 oz. blackberries
8 oz. raspberries
8 oz. romaine lettuce
Directions: Blend all ingredients. Pour into a serving bowl.
† For added texture leave some of the berries whole.
Course Three: Crushed Berry Salad
8 oz. baby spinach
4 oz. tomato
4 oz. cucumber
4 oz. blackberries
4 oz. raspberries
4 oz. peaches
Directions: Place the spinach into a bowl. Peel the cucumber and slice, along with
the tomato, and mix with the spinach. Pour berries into a separate bowl and mash with a
fork. Cut the peach into small pieces and mix with the berries. Pour over the salad.
Summer Menu Plan: Day Seven
Casaba Melon
4 lbs. casaba melon
Mango Salad
2 lbs. mango
8 oz. butter lettuce
Directions: Chop the lettuce into a bowl. Dice mango into cubes and arrange over
the lettuce and serve.
† Add a squeeze of lime for a little variation and tang.
Course One: Tropical Peach Smoothie
12 oz. mangos
12 oz. peaches
Directions: Blend with 8 oz. water.
† The mango is sometimes called a tropical peach, or the peach called a temperate
mango. Both fruits are at their peak in the summer months and are favorites in their
respective regions. Enjoy this blend of tropical and temperate fruit. Feel free to eat as a
fruit salad, if you prefer.
Course Two: Tomato Basil Soup
1 lb. tomatoes
5 sun-dried tomato halves
fresh basil to taste
Directions: Soak sun-dried tomatoes for 10 minutes. Blend ¾ of the tomatoes, basil
and sun-dried tomatoes. Pour into a bowl. Chop the remaining tomato into chunks, and
place in the center of the soup. Garnish with one fresh basil leaf.
Course Three: Heirloom Tomato Heaven!
1 lb. heirloom tomatoes
9 oz. baby mixed greens
2 tbsp. hemp seeds
Directions: Place the mixed greens into a bowl. Cut the tomatoes into wedges. Mix
the tomatoes and hemp seeds and use to top the salad.
Autumn Menu Plan: Day One
1.5 lbs. black grapes
Banana with Fig Sauce
1 lb. bananas
1 lb. figs
Directions: Blend figs with enough water to make a thick sauce. Slice the bananas,
and pour fig sauce over the slices.
Course One: Pomegranate Orange Juice
2 cups orange juice
1 cup fresh pomegranate juice
Directions: Use a citrus press or electric citrus reamer to juice the oranges and the
pomegranate. Cut the pomegranate in half, and juice it like an orange. Mix and devour!
Course Two: Tomato Cucumber Soup
8 oz. tomatoes
8 oz. cucumbers
8 oz. yellow bell peppers
Directions: Peel the cucumber. Blend ¾ of the tomato, all of the cucumber, and ¾ of
the pepper. Dice remaining tomato and pepper to use as a garnish.
Course Three: Pistachio Cucumber Salad
1 lb. red-leaf lettuce
8 oz. tomatoes
8 oz. cucumbers
1 oz. pistachios
Directions: Chop lettuce into a bowl. Peel and slice ½ of the cucumber. Dice the
tomato. Blend the other half with pistachios and cucumber for the dressing.
Autumn Menu Plan: Day Two
2 lbs. plums
Fuyu Persimmon
2 lbs. fuyu persimmon
Directions: For those who may not be familiar with the persimmon, the fuyu is a
nonastringent variety that can be eaten relatively hard or soft, depending on your
preference. The peel is edible, though some people prefer to eat the fruit without it.
† Fuyus are ready to eat when the four-leaf-clover-shaped top pulls off readily
without excessive breakage to the leaves. The fuyu is smaller in size than its relative the
hachiya, so it takes more of them to equate to the same calories.
Course 1: Blended Grapes
1 lb. red seedless grapes
Directions: Pull grapes off the stem and blend them into a grape drink.
† Blend in a stalk or two of celery for a salty twist, but make sure you blend the
celery first and then add the grapes. Doing this ensures that the fibers of the celery get
broken up well. If you’d like to make it even smoother, then chop the celery into small
pieces before you blend it.
Course 2: Kiwi Cucumber Soup
1 lb. kiwis
8 oz. cucumbers
2 oz. pomegranate seeds
Directions: Peel the kiwi and the cucumber. Blend 10 oz. kiwi and all the cucumber
to form the soup base. Slice the remaining kiwi, and stir it into the soup or arrange on top
for garnish. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top for a splash of flavor, texture, and color.
Course 3: Kiwi Strawberry Salad
1 lb. red-leaf lettuce
8 oz. cucumbers
8 oz. strawberries
8 oz. kiwi
Directions: Prep the lettuce and slice cucumber into a bowl. Peel the kiwi. Remove
the strawberry tops ( if desired, or blend them in as well). Blend the kiwi and strawberry,
and dress your salad.
Autumn Menu Plan: Day Three
2 lbs. red papaya
Banana Romaine Smoothie
2 lbs. bananas
8 oz. romaine lettuce
Directions: Blend bananas and romaine with as much water as desired for preferred
Course One: Strawberries
2 lbs. strawberries
Directions: Eat fresh or blend into a refreshingly tart drink.
Course Two: Celery Red Pepper Soup
8 oz. celery
8 oz. red bell peppers
8 oz. tomatoes
Directions: Blend the celery and red pepper to make the soup base. Dice the
tomatoes and add to the top.
Course Three: Strawberry Fennel Salad
8 oz. romaine lettuce
8 oz. fennel bulb
2 lbs. strawberries
Directions: Chop the lettuce into a bowl. Thinly slice the fennel bulb, and
strawberries, and mix them with the salad greens.
Autumn Menu Plan: Day Four
Banana Milk
1 ¼ lb. bananas
Directions: Blend bananas with enough water to make a “milky” consistency.
† Add a tablespoon of raw carob powder to the mix for a carob milk treat!
Hachiya Persimmon
2 lbs. hachiya persimmons
Directions: The hachiya is best eaten by pulling the top clover leaf off and sucking
the insides out. The skin of this fruit is edible and thinner than the fuyu. No peeling is
necessary or even possible with the hachiya persimmon.
† Unlike the fuyu, the hachiya is an astringent variety of persimmon. When unripe,
the tannins of this fruit will leave you with a chalky feeling in your mouth. You know
this fruit is ripe when it feels so soft it that is seems it should fall apart in your hands.
However, it can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months for this
fruit to reach its peak. I like to say, “buy them at Thanksgiving and eat them at
Christmas.” You may find that some have black spots on the outside. This is the result of
external sun damage, but it does not affect the fruit’s quality.
Course One: Plums
1.5 lbs. plums
Course Two: Cabbage Red Pepper Soup
8 oz. red cabbage
8 oz. red peppers
8 oz. cucumbers
Directions: Peel the cucumber. Blend everything, and enjoy!
Course Three: Tomato Fennel Slaw
8 oz. red cabbage
1 lb. tomatoes
1 frond of fennel for garnish and flavor
Directions: Chop all ingredients and stir together in a bowl.
† If the flavor of fennel is not palatable to you, substitute any mild herb you enjoy,
such as basil or cilantro.
Autumn Menu Plan: Day Five
2 lbs. green grapes
Sweet Bananas!
1 lb. bananas
4 oz. dates
Directions: Pit the dates and place in a blender. Pour just enough water to allow the
dates to blend into a paste. Peel the bananas and blend them in with the date purée, using
as much water to reach your desired consistency.
Course One: Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice
16 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
Course Two: Orange Pepper Cucumber Soup
8 oz. orange bell peppers
8 oz. cucumbers
4 oz. strawberries
Directions: Blend the peppers and cucumbers. Garnish with sliced strawberries for
color and texture.
Course Three: Orange Pecan Salad
1 lb. baby spinach
4 oz. broccoli florets
4 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 oz. pecans
Directions: Tear the spinach into a bowl. Chop the broccoli and mix with greens.
Blend the orange juice with the pecans for the dressing. Enjoy!
Autumn Menu Plan: Day Six
2 lbs. red grapes
2 lbs. figs
Course One: Pineapple Strawberry Drink
1 lb. pineapple
1 lb. strawberries
Directions: Peel and core the pineapple. De-stem the strawberries. Blend pineapple
and strawberries until they make a smoothie.
Course Two: Pineapple Red Pepper Soup
1.5 lbs. pineapple
8 oz. red bell peppers
8 oz. tomatoes
Directions: Peel and core the pineapple, core the pepper and blend. Dice the tomato
and stir into the soup, or sprinkle on top as garnish.
Course Three: Strawberry Parsley Salad
1 lb. red-leaf lettuce
8 oz. cherry tomatoes
8 oz. strawberries
1 oz. parsley
Directions: Chop the lettuce into a bowl. Blend the strawberries and parsley as the
Autumn Menu Plan: Day Seven
Concord Grapes
2 lbs. concord grapes
Figgy Bliss
1 lb. bananas
1 lb. figs
16 oz. young coconut water
Directions: Blend and savor.
Course One: Papaya
1 lb. papaya
Course Two: Grapefruit Tomato Soup
8 oz. grapefruit
8 oz. tomatoes
8 oz. cucumbers
Directions: Blend the grapefruit, cucumber, and ½ of the tomatoes for the soup
base. Chop, slice, or dice the remaining tomato for color and texture.
Course Three: Orange Avocado Slaw
8 oz. celery
8 oz. cabbage
4 oz. California avocado
8 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
Directions: Grate the cabbage and celery with a food processor, or cut very fine.
Place into a bowl. Dice the avocado into a separate bowl, stir in the orange juice, and mix
with a fork until it becomes a chunky sauce. Stir into the cabbage mixture until evenly
Winter Menu Plan: Day One
Banana Milk
2 lb. bananas
Directions: Blend bananas with enough water to make a “milky” consistency.
Hachiya Persimmon
2 lbs. hachiya persimmons
Course One: Orange Papaya Smoothie
8 oz. papaya
8 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
Directions: De-seed the papaya and then peel or simply scoop out the flesh with a
spoon. Blend with the orange juice.
Course Two: Orange Verde Soup
8 oz. romaine lettuce
8 oz. Valencia oranges
Directions: Blend lettuce and ¾ of the oranges together. Break apart the remaining
orange into segments for garnish.
Course Three: Orange-Walnut Salad
8 oz. romaine lettuce
4 oz. oranges
1 oz. walnuts
Directions: Chop the lettuce into a bowl. Peel the oranges, cut them into small
pieces, and place in a separate bowl along with chopped walnuts. Stir and pour over
lettuce. Simply delicious.
Winter Menu Plan: Day Two
Citrus Salad
8 oz. grapefruit
1 lb. Valencia oranges
1 lb. sweet tangerines
Directions: Peel the fruits and cut them into a bowl. Enjoy the contrasting flavors.
† Experiment with all the different varieties of oranges and tangerines. Blood
oranges make an excellent addition or substitution to this “salad.”
Banana Celery Smoothie
2 lbs. bananas
4 oz. celery
Directions: Cut the celery into small pieces to sever the fibers, making them easier
to blend. Blend banana and celery with as much water as needed for desired consistency.
Course One: Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice
16 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
Course Two: Cabbage Tomato Soup
8 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
8 oz. cabbage
4 oz. romaine lettuce
4 oz. tomatoes
Directions: Blend orange juice, cabbage, and lettuce. Pour purée into a large serving
bowl, and sprinkle with diced tomato. Voilà!
Course Three: Orange Fennel Slaw
8 oz. cabbage
1 lb. oranges
1 shoot of fennel top
Directions: Finely chop the cabbage and fennel into a bowl. Chop the oranges into
small pieces, and stir into the cabbage-fennel mix.
Winter Menu Plan: Day Three
2 ½ lbs. red papaya
Bananas with Date Sauce
1 lb. bananas
4 oz. dates
Directions: Slice the bananas into a bowl. Pit the dates and blend them with just
enough water to make a thick sauce. Pour over the bananas and devour!
Course One: Pineapple Orange Drink
12 oz. pineapple
16 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
Directions: Peel and core the pineapple. Blend. Cheers!
Course Two: P.L.T. Soup
12 oz. pineapple
8 oz. romaine lettuce
4 oz. tomatoes
Directions: Peel and core the pineapple. Blend with the lettuce, then pour into a
bowl. Dice the tomato and pour over the soup.
Course Three: Pineapple Tahini Salad
8 oz. romaine lettuce
8 oz. cucumbers
4 oz. pineapple
1 oz. raw, mechanically hulled tahini
Directions: Chop the lettuce into a bowl. Peel and slice the cucumber, and mix with
the lettuce. Peel and core the pineapple. Blend with the tahini and dress the salad.
Winter Menu Plan: Day Four
Pineapple Kiwi Smoothie
1 lb. pineapple
1 lb. kiwi
Directions: Blend and enjoy. Add water for a thinner consistency if desired.
Dates and Cucumber
10 oz. medjool dates
1 lb. cucumbers
Directions: Peeled cucumber works best for this recipe. Pit the dates and thickly
slice the cucumber. Place one date on each cucumber slice and devour. It’s sweet, juicy,
and crunchy!
† Nutritional information is only available for the two major varieties of dates,
medjool and deglet noor. Countless other varieties exist that you may prefer. Several
mail-order providers from Southern California specialize in rare and exotic varieties and
will ship them to just about anywhere in the U.S. Enjoy dates when they are the freshest
in late fall and early winter.
Course One: Satsuma Tangerines
1 lb. tangerines
Course Two: Grapefruit Cucumber Soup
8 oz. cucumbers
8 oz. grapefruit
8 oz. tomatoes
Directions: Blend and enjoy.
Course Three: Satsuma Cucumber
1 lb. baby spinach
8 oz. satsuma tangerines
8 oz. cucumbers
½ oz. pine nuts
Directions: Tear the spinach into a bowl. Blend the tangerines and cucumber into a
dressing. Sprinkle with pine nuts.
Winter Menu Plan: Day Five
Satsuma Tangerines
2 lbs. Satsuma tangerines
Just Bananas!
2 lbs. bananas
Directions: Blend the bananas into a smoothie or eat them straight. The choice is all
Course One: Papaya Pineapple Drink
1 lb. papaya
8 oz. pineapple
Directions: Blend and serve. For a thinner drink add as much water as you desire.
Course Two: Papaya Lime Soup
1 lb. papaya
8 oz. romaine lettuce
1 oz. lime juice
Directions: Blend all ingredients and pour into a bowl. Splendid!
Course Three: Orange Hemp Seed Salad
1 lb. red-leaf lettuce
8 oz. Valencia oranges
2 tbsp. hemp seeds
Directions: Chop the lettuce into a bowl. Peel the oranges and place them in a
separate bowl. Stir in the hemp seeds, and pour the mixture over the lettuce.
Winter Menu Plan: Day Six
Kiwi Orange Drink
1 lb. kiwi
16 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
Directions: Peel the kiwi and blend with the orange juice.
Banana Wraps
1 ¾ lbs. bananas
8 oz. romaine lettuce
Directions: Peel the bananas and wrap in whole lettuce leaves.
Course One: Tangerine Pineapple Blend
8 oz. tangerines
12 oz. pineapple
Directions: Peel and core the pineapple. Blend with the tangerines for a thick
Course Two: Tangerine Celery Soup
8 oz. tangerines
4 oz. celery
4 oz. red bell peppers
Directions: Blend and pour into a bowl.
† It helps to use a sweet and seedless variety of tangerine for this recipe. Oranges
can also substitute well for the tangerines.
Course Three: Pineapple Red Pepper Salad
1 lb. butter lettuce
4 oz. pineapple
4 oz. red bell peppers
1 oz. sliced almonds
Directions: Prep the lettuce into a bowl. Blend the pineapple and red pepper to dress
your salad. Garnish with almonds.
Winter Menu Plan: Day Seven
Papaya Banana Salad
8 oz. papaya
1 lb. banana
Directions: Cut fruits into a bowl and mix.
Dates and Celery
10 oz. dates
16 oz. celery
Directions: Eat them together, or one at a time.
Course 1: Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice
16 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
Course 2: Orange Broccoli Soup
8 oz. broccoli
8 oz. oranges
Directions: Blend both ingredients into a delicious soup.
Course 3: Grapefruit Tahini Salad
1 lb. romaine lettuce
4 oz. broccoli
4 oz. grapefruit
1 oz. raw mechanically hulled tahini
Directions: Finely chop the lettuce and broccoli into a bowl. Blend the grapefruit
and the tahini to dress the salad.
Spring Menu Plan: Day One
Papaya with Kiwi Sauce
2.5 lbs. papaya
8 oz. kiwi
Directions: De-seed and peel the papaya. Cut into a bowl. Blend the kiwi and pour
over the papaya.
Banana Celery Smoothie
1¾ lbs. bananas
4 oz. celery
Directions: Cut the celery into small pieces to sever the fibers, making them easier
to blend. Blend banana and celery with as much water as needed for desired consistency.
Course One: Pineapple Kiwi Drink
8 oz. pineapple
8 oz. kiwi
Directions: Peel and core the pineapple. Peel the kiwi, and then blend the two
Course Two: Pineapple Fennel Soup
8 oz. pineapple
4 oz. celery
4 oz. cucumber
1 oz. fennel fronds
Directions: Blend the pineapple, celery, and fennel, and pour into a bowl. Cut the
cucumber into small chunks and use to garnish the top of the soup.
Course 3: Pineapple Macadamia Salad
1 lb. green-leaf lettuce
4 oz. tomatoes
4 oz. pineapple
1 oz. macadamia nuts
Directions: Chop the lettuce into a bowl. Slice the tomato and toss with the greens.
Blend the pineapple and macadamia nuts for a scrumptious dressing!
Spring Menu Plan: Day Two
Bananas with Carob Sauce
1 lb. bananas
1 oz. medjool dates
1 oz. raw carob powder
Directions: Slice most of the bananas into a bowl, reserving ½ of one banana for the
sauce. Blend the dates, ½ banana, and carob with just enough water to make a sauce.
Pour over the sliced banana.
Banana Milk
2 lbs. bananas
Directions: Blend bananas with enough water to make a “milky” consistency.
Course 1: Strawberry Pineapple Drink
8 oz. strawberries
8 oz. pineapple
Directions: Prep both ingredients and blend.
Course 2: Strawberry Yellow Pepper Soup
1 lb. strawberries
8 oz. yellow bell peppers
8 oz. romaine lettuce
Directions: Chop all ingredients into a blender, except for 1 strawberry, and blend.
Pour into a bowl and garnish with the reserved strawberry, thinly sliced.
Course 3: Strawberry Red Pepper Salad
1 lb. romaine lettuce
4 oz. red bell peppers
8 oz. strawberries
Directions: Finely chop the lettuce into a bowl. Blend the red peppers and
strawberries into a dressing. Pour over the salad.
Spring Menu Plan: Day Three
Citrus Celebration!
8 oz. pineapple
8 oz. kiwi
8 oz. strawberries
8 oz. red grapefruit
8 oz. oranges
Directions: Prep all ingredients, chop, and mix together into a bowl.
Ataulfo Mangos
2 lbs. ataulfo mangos
† This Mexican variety of mango begins its season in late April. Also known as
honey, champagne, Manila, Asian, or yellow mango, it is a smaller-than-average mango,
with a pale yellow color and a virtually fiberless flesh and sweet flavor, which makes it a
leader of the imported varieties. While imported mangos are subject to hot-water
treatment (unless you live in areas where they are grown locally, such as South Florida
and Southern California), they are sometimes the only varieties available. It is always a
good idea to visit areas where tropical fruits are grown.
Course 1: Kiwi Strawberry
1 lb. kiwi
1 lb. strawberries
Directions: Slice, dice, and enjoy.
Course 2: Strawberry Cucumber Soup
1 lb. strawberries
8 oz. cucumbers
Directions: Peel and slice the cucumber and blend the strawberries, leaving a little
of each for garnish. Blend, pour into a bowl, and decorate.
Course 3: Strawberry Almond Salad
1 lb. red-leaf lettuce
4 oz. cucumbers
4 oz. strawberries
1 oz. almonds
Directions: Chop the lettuce into a large bowl. Peel and slice the cucumber and mix
with the lettuce. Blend the strawberries and almonds for a dressing.
Spring Menu Plan: Day Four
Orange Juice
4 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
Banana and Ataulfo Smoothie
1 lb. bananas
1 lb. ataulfo mangos
Directions: Blend and devour!
Course One: Papaya Strawberry Boats
1 lb. papaya
1 lb. strawberries
Directions: Deseed the papaya, and fill with sliced strawberries. Arm yourself with
a spoon and enjoy!
Course Two: Celery Orange Soup
8 oz. celery
8 oz. red bell peppers
8 oz. Valencia oranges
Directions: Blend the celery, orange, and ¾ of the red pepper. Pour into a bowl and
decorate with the remaining red pepper, finely chopped.
Course Three: Orange Red Pepper Salad
1 lb. red-leaf lettuce
4 oz. oranges
2 oz. red bell peppers
1 oz. Brazil nuts
Directions: Tear the lettuce into a bowl. Use the pulse setting on your blender to
turn the oranges, bell pepper, and Brazil nuts into a chunky dressing.
Spring Menu Plan: Day Five
Sweet-Tart Delight
16 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
8 oz. ataulfo mangos
8 oz. strawberries
Directions: Blend everything and try not to drink it too fast… it’s that good!
Just Bananas!
2 lbs. bananas
Course One: Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice
16 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
Course Two: Spinach Red Pepper Soup
8 oz. spinach
8 oz. red bell peppers
8 oz. oranges
Directions: Blend all of the ingredients and pour into a bowl.
Course Three: Orange Pistachio Salad
8 oz. baby spinach
8 oz. red-leaf lettuce
4 oz. oranges
1 oz. pistachios
Directions: Chop the spinach and lettuce into a bowl. Blend the oranges and
pistachio, and dress your salad!
Spring Menu Plan: Day Six
Spring Fruit Salad
1 lb. sweet oranges
1 lb. strawberries
8 oz. kiwi
Directions: Cut all the fruits into chunky bite-size pieces, toss, and savor the flavor!
Ataulfo Strawberry Salad
2 lbs. ataulfo mangos
1 lb. strawberries
Directions: Dice the mangos and slice the strawberries into a bowl.
Course One: Papaya
1.5 lbs. papaya
Course Two: Papaya Gazpacho
1 lb. papaya
8 oz. tomatoes
2 oz. fresh basil
Directions: Deseed the papaya, peel, and cut it into small chunks, or blend it, if you
prefer. Dice the tomato and finely chop the basil. Add them both to the papaya mixture.
Course Three: Papaya Salad Wraps
1 lb. butter lettuce
1 lb. papaya
juice of 1 lime
Directions: In a bowl, cut the papaya into small chunks. Mix it with the lime juice
until it all melds together. Use the lettuce leaves as wrappers, and use your papaya-lime
blend as a filling.
Spring Menu Plan: Day Seven
3 lbs. strawberries
† If you are looking to get a little extra greens, or to save time, you can eat the tops
to the strawberries. They do change the texture a bit, but they also add a little green
flavor. If you enjoy eating greens with your fruit, then this is a complete package.
Banana Romaine Smoothie
2 lbs. bananas
8 oz. romaine lettuce
Directions: Blend into a smoothie.
Course One: Orange Kiwi
1 lb. oranges
8 oz. kiwi
Directions: Peel the oranges, then cut them into chunks and place in a bowl. Peel the
kiwi and cut into slices. Stir into the oranges.
Course Two: Cauliflower Tomato Soup
8 oz. cauliflower florets
1 lb. tomatoes
Directions: Blend cauliflower with ¾ of the tomatoes. Dice the remaining tomato
and stir it into the soup or place on top for garnish.
Course Three: Orange Tahini Salad
8 oz. romaine lettuce
8 oz. baby spinach
4 oz. oranges
1 tbsp. raw mechanically hulled tahini
Directions: Tear greens into a bowl. Blend orange segments with tahini, and dress.
Appendix B. Frequently Asked Questions
What are raw foods?
There are different definitions of raw foods, depending upon whom you ask. For our
purposes, we will define raw foods as those foods that are whole and fresh and have not
been subjected to cooking of any type. Raw foods are Nature’s finished products; they
are ready to be consumed, as is. Like the raw materials that construction workers use to
build a house, raw foods become the building materials that our bodies use to maintain
and reconstruct themselves.
“Raw” is a relative term. Some people would argue that dehydrated or powdered
foods are still raw, even though they are not whole. (Water is a profoundly important
essential nutrient; once water has been removed from a food, it should no longer be
considered “whole.”)
There is no need to argue, and there is room for the occasional exception. What you
do most of the time will have a big impact in your life. What you do rarely should be
considered exceptions. The impact of exceptions does not accrue like the impact of that
which you do with regularity. Nonetheless, whole, fresh, raw plant foods with all of their
original components intact, including water and fiber, are by far the most healthful.
What is a raw food diet?
A raw food diet is one that is predominated by foods that have not been cooked.
People who adopt this diet are often referred to as “raw fooders” or “raw foodists.”
Those who eat only raw plants are called “raw food vegans” or “raw vegans.”
The healthy raw food diet that I recommend in this book is made up of whole, fresh,
ripe, raw, organic plant foods. It is predominated by fruits and allows for all the greens
that you care to eat, plus small quantities of nuts, seeds, and fatty fruits.
What about an all-fruit diet?
I do not recommend an all-fruit diet. In my experience, we must eat vegetables,
especially dark leafy greens, in order to experience optimum nutrition and ideal health. I
recommend that 2 to 6% of our total calories consumed, on average, come from greens.
In terms of volume, this would mean somewhere between 1 and 4 heads of lettuce, or ¼
to 1 pound of kale, or ½ to 2 pounds of spinach, per day (depending on how many
calories you normally consume).
Are all raw food diets the same?
No, there are many approaches to eating a raw diet. Although for some it includes
raw meat and other animal products, I do not recommend the consumption of animalderived foods of any kind (including honey and milk), for reasons of health, ecology, and
Most raw food diets obtain a high percentage of daily calories from fats, by
including oils and significant amounts of avocado, nuts and seeds, and sometimes
coconut meat and olives. These diets tend to be unsustainable, since too much fat, even
raw fat, causes health problems and results in the underconsumption of carbohydrates. In
a vain effort to compensate for the nutritional insufficiencies of these diets, people often
resort to the use of supplements and stimulants.
We cannot succeed eating primarily vegetables (even when we include substantial
quantities of green drinks), because even impossibly huge amounts do not contain nearly
enough calories to fuel us. A sustainable raw food diet, therefore, draws the great bulk of
its daily calories from fruits, which are relatively high in calories, along with liberal
amounts of vegetables for their high mineral content, plus a (very) small amount of nuts
and seeds.
What about individual differences?
A huge amount of misinformation is being taught in holistic health circles about
metabolic typing. “Experts” tell us that people are born as either “fast” or “slow”
metabolizers (sometimes called “fast or slow oxidizers”), and that the rate of your
metabolism determines the foods that are best suited for you to eat.
Fast metabolizers, so they say, burn through fuel more rapidly than slow
metabolizers, making them relatively more efficient at digesting their food.
Actually, the opposite is true. Using an automobile analogy, it’s easy to understand
that the car that gets more miles to the gallon is more efficient than the car that gets
fewer miles to the gallon. Similarly, the person who uses the least fuel to accomplish any
particular task, i.e., the slow metabolizer, is the most efficient.
As the “wisdom” of this line of thinking goes, if you are a fast-metabolizing raw
fooders, you must consume an exceptionally high percentage of your total calories (60–
80%) as fat in the form of nuts, seeds, oils, avocados, olives, and the like. Fruits, it is
said, are insufficient for fast metabolizers in terms of fuel density, leaving them
constantly hungry, causing them to fall off the raw “wagon,” and to suffer from the
maladies (mistakenly) associated with the overconsumption of fruit sugars. By eating
more fat, it is implied that nutrition will be enhanced.
Only the very slowest metabolizers, they teach, could even hope to have a chance of
health when utilizing fruit for fuel. Even so, slow metabolizers are advised to keep fruit
to a minimum because it is too high in high-glycemic simple carbohydrates. A few
pieces of fruit per week at the very most, are recommended for slow metabolizers.
Perhaps, they say, serious athletes who also happen to be very slow metabolizers can eat
a bit more fruit. But in general, they argue that fruit consumption should simply be
avoided. They claim that it is too easy (and too dangerous) to overeat fruit.
Apparently, according to many teachers, it is a rare individual indeed, who is a slow
One reason that this theory fails is that many of those who teach it do not know the
definition of the word “metabolism.” Here are some terms that should be useful in this
Fasting BMR: The “fasting” basal metabolic rate is a measure of the amount of
fuel a person utilizes, per unit of time, when awake and totally at rest. It does not
include such functions as physical activity, daily household chores, or even
digestion. This means no food has been consumed for at least 72 hours and the body
requires no digestive energy. Fasting BMR accounts for the use of around 1,000
calories per day for most people, though this number does tend to be slightly
affected by body size.
BMR: The basal metabolic rate number you are more likely to encounter estimates
the calories consumed for people who are awake and resting, but not fasting or
abstaining from consuming food. Most people can roughly estimate this number by
multiplying their body weight by ten.
Metabolism: We use the word “metabolism” to mean BMR plus all the activities of
the day. Metabolism is not, in and of itself, a single function, but rather the sum of
all of the catabolic and anabolic processes that go on within your body. Anabolic
processes are the building activities, those that combine simpler structures to form
more complex ones. They include growth, repair, and all of the recombinant
chemistry that goes on at the cellular and visceral level. Catabolic processes are
those that break complex structures down into simpler ones. Digestion, osteoclastic
activity (cells that break down bones), the conversion of glycogen to glucose, and
aging are examples of catabolism in action.
When we refer to someone as having a “fast metabolism,” we mean that they
require more fuel to perform the same number of anabolic and catabolic processes as a
person with a slow metabolism. This means that the fast metabolizers are less efficient
in their use of fuel.
Either way, however, according to most sports physiology texts, the difference
between fast and slow metabolic rates is very small indeed. Most texts agree that the
BMR rarely varies much more than about plus or minus 5% from person to person of
similar body size and design. Body surface area, scientists have proven, is the biggest
factor affecting BMR.82
Activity—not metabolism—governs fuel usage
What truly does affect fuel use is the amount of physical exertion one performs. A
sedentary person may use only 200 calories per day in performing their daily functions,
whereas someone going for a vigorous four-hour hike could use 2,000 calories.
Professional athletes often use 4,000 calories solely for their daily training, and Tour de
France riders are known to use 10,000 to 14,000 calories, or more, on the most intense
days of this grueling competition. Hence it is easy to see that the differences in BMR, or
metabolism, as it is commonly but mistakenly referred to, play an exceptionally small
role in total calorie usage.
At most, BMR variations represent less than 100 calories out of the 2,000 to 4,000
that most people eat per day. Textbooks suggest that BMR differences typically account
for only one to two per cent of total calories consumed. This is approximately the caloric
equivalent of one bite of an apple. This certainly is not enough to make a noticeable
difference in fuel consumption or preferred fuel sources between even the fastest and the
slowest of metabolizers.
The truly fast metabolizer uses more calories per hour throughout the day, than the
average person does. The more calories one utilizes in the course of a day, the faster that
person’s total metabolism would be.
An Example
For example, we can reasonably estimate that a moderately active, 110-pound, 5′4″
woman might eat about 2,000 calories per day and a lightly active man who is 5′10″ tall
and 150 pounds uses about 2,400 calories. In this example, the man uses an average of
100 calories per hour.
For the sake of simplicity, we shall call 100 calories per hour (plus or minus 10%)
the midrange of metabolic rate. We could therefore assert that a person who uses, on
average, more than 110 calories per hour would be termed a fast metabolizer and a
person who uses less than 90 calories per hour would be a slow metabolizer. We could
assign people progressively faster and slower metabolic designations the more their
calorie usage differed from the midrange.
At this point we have come to an unbridgeable contradiction. We are told that fast
metabolizers—those people who utilize the most fuel per hour, are supposedly the very
people who will thrive on the highest fat levels in their diet. Meanwhile, we are also
being told that only slow-metabolizing athletes should attempt to utilize a diet higher in
carbohydrates from fruit. Yet we know that athletes are the very people who have the
fastest metabolisms, despite any variations in their BMR.
To make matters more confusing, scientific research consistently proves that the
more fat you consume, the more your health will suffer. Somewhere, someone must be
wrong in these assertions. It is not possible to straddle both sides of this fence. Either a
fat-based diet is most healthful or a fruit-based diet is, but it cannot be both; and it
cannot be one for some people and the other for other people.
Small cows eat small amounts of food relative to large cows. Active cows eat more
food than their sedentary counterparts, yet all cows eat essentially the same food. Fruits
and vegetables have been touted as the ultimate health foods for humans for over a
century, and they have been the primary food of humankind throughout our existence, up
until the recent past.
Whether you are small or large, active or sedentary, fruits and vegetables remain
the optimum foods of choice for fulfilling all human nutritional needs. If one person
needs to consume a greater number of calories than another person, it simply means that
they must eat a greater quantity of food, not completely different foods.
In case the above is not enough of a contradiction to try to puzzle out, work on this
one: It has been repeatedly asserted that most people would experience the greatest
levels of health using a diet that is composed primarily of fats. This assertion is based on
the assumption that most people are fast metabolizers, a premise that cannot be true.
Whenever we work with large numbers, the law of averages comes into play. Using the
law of averages, a “normal” or “bell” curve is always formed. In the bell curve, only
about 5 to 10% of the people would truly be classed as fast metabolizers, 5 to 10% would
be slow metabolizers, and the rest, roughly 80%, would fall somewhere in the middle.
These would be average metabolizers, not slow and not fast.
Do not be misled by metabolism (or oxidation) mumbo jumbo. Track your fat
intake on any given day and see for yourself just exactly what percentage of your
calories it comprises. Once you do, you will understand why so many raw fooders are
having problems. High fat is also the reason that most scientific studies of raw fooders
draw negative conclusions. Is it any wonder that people have trouble staying healthy on
their high-fat raw regimens, or that they find cooked carbohydrates so alluring?
Those who convince unsuspecting new raw fooders to steer clear of fruit and gorge
on fat do succeed in accomplishing one goal; the creation of nutritional inadequacies.
This opens the door for selling us nutritional supplements in a vain attempt to
compensate for the very deficiencies that result from consuming a high-fat raw diet. Of
course, most newcomers want to learn and are prone to following the advice they are
Can I thrive on only raw foods?
No essential nutrient exists in meat, grains, legumes, or dairy that is not also
available in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds—and in a form that is easier to digest.
Indeed, many vital nutrients, such as soluble fibers and the thousands of phytonutrients,
can only be garnered from plants. Fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens not only contain
sustainable amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, they also contain them in the
percentages, ratios, and forms that are optimum for human health.
People thrive on the raw diet, often telling others how it has improved their health
and their lives. When people integrate a proper raw diet with other healthful living
practices, they rarely, if ever, develop weight-control problems or chronic (or even shortterm) illnesses. Health becomes a fact of life.
For millions of years, most humans, and their ancestors, lived a gatherer lifestyle in
a tropical environment where large amounts of easy-to-pick fruit were readily available
to meet their nutritional needs. The human diet was likely entirely plant based and eaten
without the application of fire or heat. Accordingly, the human digestive and eliminative
tracts developed to process raw fruits and vegetables for fuel and growth. We are
biologically designed to obtain our nutrition from uncooked fruits and vegetables.
Only within the last 10,000 years has cereal agriculture allowed humans to trade
their frugivorous diets for cooked grain-based fare.83 People’s bodies remained the
same, but the food they chose to eat began to vary for the worse. The human body has not
had sufficient time, evolutionarily speaking, to alter its digestive system to meet this
fundamental dietary change. The likelihood of doing so is slim at best, as heated foods
are of lower nutritional quality, and cooking introduces toxic elements. Hence, the
adaptation would be a downward one, and would be technically considered a devolution.
Will eating raw make me healthy?
A proper raw diet will result in improved health, but I must emphasize that the
body, not food, creates health. Food does not build; the body builds. Food does not
cleanse; the body cleanses. Good health, after all, is the result of a healthy lifestyle.
The raw diet is but one component of healthful living. Adequate rest and sleep,
regular, vigorous physical activity, plenty of fresh air, sunlight, a positive outlook on
life, and many other factors are also essential to creating good health.
Why didn’t the 80/10/10 diet work for me?
People come to me at times having tried this method of eating unsuccessfully. Upon
examination, I have found almost invariably that they were not actually doing what I
recommend. As I truly desire to see people succeed, I want to mention here several key
factors that people often overlook when adopting the 80/10/10 lifestyle.
You are not following 80/10/10 if:
Less than 2% of your total calories come from vegetables and leafy greens. For true
health, I recommend consuming 2 to 6% of calories from leafy greens. For 4% of
your calories to come from vegetables on a 2000-calorie diet, you would have to eat
roughly a pound of greens per day.
Your caloric intake is insufficient to maintain your desired body weight.
You burn less than 40% of your total calories through physical activity (at least 800
calories per day if you average 2,000 calories).
Your habitual sleep pattern doesn’t meet your body’s needs.
You eat all day long rather than one to four meals a day.
You lack emotional poise (your lifestyle is sufficiently stressful to cause your
system ongoing adrenal exertion).
You expose your fully (or substantially) unclothed skin to moderate sunlight less
than 30 minutes per day. (Our bodies require approximately 15 minutes of sunlight
exposure per day to produce sufficient vitamin D. I would consider 30 minutes a
day a healthful minimum… remember, our species wasn’t designed to live
Why do people “fail” on the raw diet?
The most common reason for lack of success with the raw diet is the overall poor
health of the new raw fooders who unknowingly obtains most of his or her daily calories
from raw fat sources. This occurs even as they eat what they consider a tremendous
amount of vegetables, because vegetables contain so few calories.
The components of fatty foods are not a match for human nutritional needs. Eating a
high-fat diet paves the way to a wide variety of health issues that have their basis in
nutritional insufficiency.
Eating sweet-fruit carbohydrates in insufficient volume to produce a feeling of
satiation results predictably in carbohydrate cravings and disordered eating behaviors.
Almost every raw fooders who goes back to eating cooked foods find himself eating
cooked carbohydrates—bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, corn, lentils, and beans—time and
again, until they figure out that they simply are not eating anywhere near enough fruit. If
they don’t go back to cooked starches (and the fats that make them taste good), they are
generally driven to eating concentrated and refined carbohydrates such as candy,
chocolate, alcohol, pastries, cookies, or dried fruits. This same scenario—caused by
underconsuming the whole-food simple sugars in fruit—is equally true for people on the
cooked standard American diet who find themselves suffering from cravings and
disordered eating.
The other significant reason that people fail on the raw diet is emotional. Here, I
discuss two common variants on the “emotional eating” theme. The first involves using
food to suppress our ability to feel. The second involves using food to evoke certain
Let’s take the “numbing out” scenario first. Cooked food does not really comfort us,
as we are led to believe, but it certainly does numb us from feeling. Rather than making
us feel good, it inhibits our ability to fully feel anything at all.
Unconsciously, we have learned to push down our emotions with heavy foods that
require too much nerve energy to allow for both digestion and intense emoting to occur
simultaneously. We are not just imagining things: this process of “numbing out” is very
real, in a physiological sense. With the exception of strenuous physical activity, the two
most energy-expensive tasks our bodies commonly undertake are breaking down foods in
combinations that have a high digestive demand and processing intense emotions. In
general, we must do one or the other.
We have all had the experience of completely losing our appetite because of an
intense emotional upset. This occurs when the emotional component edges out the
digestive task. Conversely, when digestion takes priority (which occurs almost every
time we eat heavily), we experience an emotional numbing, a lack of feeling. In a world
full of emotional pain and physical discomfort, numbness can easily be misinterpreted as
This might occur when a person gets into an argument and then drowns himself in a
pint of ice cream because he is so filled with anger and frustration. A raw fooders in the
same scenario may turn instead to nuts and dried fruits, but in both cases what really
needs to happen is to bring out and accept these emotions.
As one lightens the digestive load by switching to raw foods, the body suddenly has
more nerve energy to conduct emotions, and emotions suppressed over the years begin to
emerge. This unexpected challenge proves overwhelming for many people. Until people
learn to properly deal with their emotional baggage, it is likely that eating raw foods will
allow uncomfortable emotions to surface. They will find themselves going back to eating
cooked foods for the emotional “comfort” that they bring.
Emotional acceptance means that without distraction from television, books,
friends, music, food, etc. we sit quietly and actually feel the emotion with full intensity
where it lies within our body. When instead we try to hide or distract ourselves from
painful thoughts and feelings, we only suppress them more deeply, to be felt (generally
with greater intensity) at a later date. It is important to realize that without the
“negative” emotions, we could experience no “positive” emotions, as they are two sides
of the same coin. They are a part of us like all other parts, and by rejecting them we only
turn away from an aspect of ourselves that is demanding our undivided attention.
The second type of emotional eating involves felt attachments to specific cooked
foods. Such attachments often originate from an attempt to recreate a past event or
moment in our lives that we remember as positive and yearn to experience again. People
often find these emotions very difficult to overcome.
In the same way that drug addicts never successfully duplicate the unique “high” of
their first drug experience, no matter how many times they try, eating cooked food never
quite generates that specific emotional experience we are looking for. Instead, we get
disappointed, and then we eat more cooked food to numb our awareness of the
It takes a lot of insight to understand that although those emotions are important
and the experiences were valuable, eating cooked food will not bring them back. We
must let them go and generate new positive experiences in the present moment.
People who are emotionally attached to cooked foods aren’t actually addicted to
them, since it is physiologically impossible to be addicted to something that is harmful
to us. The body simply is not put together that way. It is designed to thrive and cannot
become addicted to a harmful substance. The human psyche, however, can become very
much addicted to the shift in perception that occurs after we ingest certain substances. A
yearning for that shift in perception is the ever-present illusion that lures us to eat
cooked foods.
If you eat cooked foods, you stand the risk of becoming an emotional vegetable—
someone who becomes evermore dependent upon their cooked food “fix.”
Another One Bites the Dust …
The following is an excerpt (slightly edited for space) from an actual post to my
online discussion group on It exemplifies the stories I hear every time I
meet someone who tries try to go raw without eating fruit.
Predictably, such people experience constant hunger, disordered eating, digestive
problems from overeating nuts, intense sweet cravings, a sense of needing to “fill the
void” with poorly combined dehydrated sweets, massive overdosing on fats, guilt, low
energy, and general dissatisfaction with food—and often bingeing and purging, as well.
See if you recognize yourself or someone you know as you read this candid account
of a high-fat raw fooders who is desperate to find a program that works. Especially take
note of the second paragraph, where the author describes her conception of “a healthy,
simple way of eating.” The diet she outlines probably totals about 1,600 calories, and a
minimum of 40% fat … and her program devolves from there.
There is much I love about being raw. It makes a lot of sense to me and for the most
part I feel much better than I ever did eating cooked foods. What I do not love about the
raw food lifestyle is the effect nuts and dehydrated foods have on my system. It is very
hard for me to find the right balance. When I do feel like I have found “the right way to
eat” for me, an old inner demon creeps in and pushes me off my center, which throws me
into a tailspin.
When I began this second stint with 100% raw, it was very easy for me to go back to
a healthy, simple way of eating. My diet consisted of apple lemon ginger juice in the
morning with powdered green formula, [with four large apples this might be 450
calories—DG] lunch was usually a green salad with avocado and some kind of cultured
vegetables, and dinner was some version of the same or maybe a prepared raw meal from
the market. [Two large salads combined would likely contain not more than 1,000
calories: 600 from two avocados and up to 400 from vegetables—DG]
I experimented with flaxseed and other dehydrated crackers to find they congested
me (I would eat too many and get bloated and constipated.) I started running more in
April, and for a while I seemed to find my groove with the food and exercise. I noticed
that I started to crave sweets, so I started adding more fruit to my diet like oranges and
nectarines. But I am afraid the sugar in the fruit had a negative affect on my body
because now I can’t get off of the raw sweet snacks. If I have a bag of dates I can easily
go through a pound of them, so I stay clear of those as best I can.
I also have a hard time controlling the quantity of nuts I consume. I tried my
darnedest to not buy raw dehydrated nuts, nut treats, and raw desserts. But the problem is
that now that I allowed myself the sweet fruits and raw desserts I tend to want more.
I feel a bit ashamed to admit this, but I pretty much finished off an entire jar of
cashew nut butter in one sitting. My willpower feels so small right now. It is amazing
how different my personality and attitude can be. It feels like old cooked food demons
are creeping in. There is no way for me to keep fun foods in my home for fear that I will
consume them all. I know the simpler the diet the better, but often the will is weak and
my body suffers.
About a month ago, my attitude went from enthusiastic and cheery to irritable. I felt
very fatigued and hot tempered, and my diet started going from clean to not so clean. My
running decreased and wasn’t as consistent as it had been, and my sleeping habits started
getting bad; I can’t wake up early anymore. My attitude has not been very positive, and I
feel depressed most of the time.
Concerned, I have started adding B12 supplements and hemp seed oil. I can’t seem
to get back to a clean way of eating. I almost feel like I need to get some sort of blood
test to see if I am deficient in any areas or to measure my level of candida. I do not want
food to be the deciding factor for how I feel. I really want food to be unimportant. I want
to remain raw … but eating to live, not living to eat. I know that raw can work for me as
long as I am able to either stay away from those foods that are difficult to digest or
simply consume them in smaller quantities.
Isn’t it hard to go raw?
Learning how to eat a raw food diet properly takes time, patience, and yes, effort.
Although I provide a blueprint for doing it healthfully, most people find it challenging to
adopt the raw diet 100% the first time out, unless they get professional guidance. It
seldom occurs overnight, and in fact, can take years to accomplish.
Because our taste buds have been exposed to, and our brains have experienced the
excitement of salt, sugar, and spices, we may miss those tastes initially when they are no
longer part of the daily diet. However, most people find that the tradeoff for good health
and longevity is more than worth living without a few of the harshest flavoring agents.
Once the taste buds are no longer exposed each day to these stimulants and
excitotoxins, they once again develop an appreciation for the taste of fresh fruits and
vegetables. You can become an extremely discerning person, with taste buds that can
easily recognize the differences among various qualities of fruit.
Of course, it is far more pleasant to be healthy than it is to be sick, and far less
expensive, too. Weighing all factors with a longer-term perspective, I would say it is
easier to eat raw than eat cooked.
What advice do you have for new raw fooders?
Those new to the raw food diet often fall victim to their own innocence, coupled
with their inquisitive nature. Most people, when trying a new diet, want to find out as
much about it as possible, and often as quickly as possible. The raw food diet, which is
so radically different from the others, often leaves people bewildered about “what to do.”
Nutritional and other health concerns can overwhelm them, especially when social
pressures about their diet from peers, family, and friends beset them.
Fortunately, there is a huge amount of information available about raw foods on
websites, in books, and from counselors. But beware: most of the “leaders” who offer
this information have little education, experience, or professional training in nutrition or
health creation.
Newcomers do not have enough perspective to be able to discern the valid
information from the dangerous or the sound science from the well-marketed
infomercial. We can quickly end up with a situation where the blind are being led by the
My advice is to be certain that you seek guidance from someone who has reached
stability in his or her own food program. I recommend increasing the consumption of
whole fruits and vegetables and minimizing any use of supplements, super foods, or
condiments of all types. Eat simply at each meal, reducing the total number of
ingredients while obtaining variety in your diet throughout the seasons.
Do fruits and vegetables have enough nutrients?
The very best quality water, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients,
enzymes, coenzymes, fiber, protein, carbohydrates, and fats all come from organically
grown fruits and vegetables grown in highly composted, living soils. They are complete
nutritional packages and provide all the nutrients we need, in the proportions and ratios
our bodies require for proper functioning. No man-made vitamin tablet or other
supplement can compare with Nature’s handiwork.
Of all foods, fruits are richest in vitamins and water, and second richest in minerals
and fiber, while vegetables and leafy greens are richest in minerals and fiber, and second
richest in vitamins and water. Vegetables supply minerals and fiber so far in excess of
our needs that the quantity supplied in fruit actually comes closer to meeting our needs.
(As I have stated elsewhere, consuming more than we need of any nutrient is not better,
and in fact creates nutritional imbalances, despite marketing hype to the contrary).
Fruits, being far higher in calories than vegetables and thus capable of fueling us
adequately, should comprise the majority of our diets. Some fruits, however, do actually
fall short in terms of minerals, so it is important to include some vegetables in our diet
to make up for the eventual lack that could develop on a fruit-only diet. Nonetheless, in
every category, the nutrient content of fruit comes closer to matching human nutritional
needs than that of any other food group.
We need small quantities of both proteins and fats. So, although fruits and
vegetables are not high in protein and fat content, they still remain their ideal source.
What about vitamin B12?
Almost every health and nutrition professional in the world holds the notion that
people must at least supplement their diets with a B12 source if they don’t eat meat. But
the truth is, vitamin B12 deficiency is not limited to vegetarians and vegans; it is
common among meat eaters as well—not because they don’t eat enough B12, but because
they don’t properly produce and absorb it. Let me explain just a bit about how this all
As I see it, two primary vegan sources of natural vitamin B1 2 exist for humans,
either of which, under ideal conditions, should be sufficient to provide the B12 to meet
our needs:
First, vitamin B12 is a waste product of a bacteria that can be found in and on the
foods we eat (of both animal and plant origin).
Second, B12 is also produced in the intestine and the mucosa of healthy humans.
An alleged but very unlikely third source of B12 may be unheated algae, spirulina,
chlorella, and other creatures (which are not plants, by the way, and thus not to be
considered vegan), and also raw seaweeds like nori, wakame, dulse, kombu, etc.
Although these substances apparently do contain some human-active B12, they also
contain significant amounts of noncobalamin analogs of B12, which actually interfere
with the absorption of true B12. The analog form of B12 registers on test results,
masquerading as the human nutrient, but the body cannot use it. To compound the
problem, analog B12 also occupies the body’s B 12 uptake sites or “receptors,” thus
lowering our ability to utilize true B12.
From a health and biological-design perspective, the question of whether the B12 in
these foods is the kind we need or an analog (or some of both) becomes irrelevant.
Regardless of the answer, I do not recommend the consumption of sea life under any
circumstances. Humans are terrestrial creatures and as such our digestive capacities and
nutritional requirements are adapted to the consumption of plants from the land. Aquatic
plants and animals are not our natural foods, nor does their nutritional makeup match our
If you disagree, take yourself to the oceanside one day and collect some of your own
fresh algae or seaweed. I think you will find these “foods,” as they appear unprocessed in
nature, to be abhorrent in taste. Compare this reaction to the sensory thrill that you
experience when you see, smell, and taste a perfectly ripe piece of fruit picked fresh
from the tree. Your visceral response to these two scenarios should tell you
unequivocally which of these items is food for humans.
That said, I return to the first two B1 2 sources mentioned above. If it is true that
plant and animal foods can contain B12 , and that we make it within our bodies as well,
then how is it that we find vitamin B1 2 deficiency in humans? This is an extremely
complex matter, but I will discuss four reasons for this phenomenon in a very simplified
1) Our produce no longer contains vitamin B12.
Since the beginning of time, humans have acquired some of their vitamin B12 directly
from fruits and vegetables … but they did not know they were doing so. You see,
scientists did not discover vitamin B12 until the 1950s, and by then our commercially
produced plant foods had spent about a decade devoid of vitamin B12, a nutrient that had
existed plentifully in plant foods since time immemorial.
How did this come about? Well, plants do not make a lot of vitamins. Rather, they
soak them up from the soil through their roots. Most of our vitamins are made by
bacteria in the soil. Since the advent of modern agriculture in 1942, when Bayer and
other chemical manufacturers began diverting leftover chemical weapons from World
War II into use as pesticides and fertilizers, 84 farmers have inadvertently sterilized the
bacteria out of our soils. The resulting loss of plant-derived dietary vitamin B1 2 is just
one of the unintended consequences of “better living through chemistry,” an initiative
that continues to devastate the balance of nature in ways we are only beginning to
Given this historical perspective, it is easy to understand why nutritional
researchers generally encounter no vitamin B12 in plant foods since they take their
samples from among produce grown in dead soils. However, organically grown plants
specifically cultivated in highly composted soils rich with organic matter can contain
plenty of B12 and a host of other nutrients not found (or found in short supply) in
industrially grown produce.
Organic matter, defined as anything that rots, is the root of organic farming and the
engine that runs the entire web of life on Earth. Fungi and bacteria eat the organic
matter, and then they “poop” … in the process contributing complex substances to the
soil, including vitamin B12 and other nutrients, in profusion. Plants grown in such soils
take up these nutrients through their roots.
When we add chemicals to the soil, we destroy not only “pests” and the bacteria that
produce vitamin B12, but also the entire pyramid of soil life (which begins with organic
material, then fungi and bacteria but also includes mites, then predatory mites,
springtails, and worms). Most agricultural soil in the United States contains only 1 to 2%
organic matter, a level that qualifies it as biologically dead. The practice of farming with
chemicals and not returning any organic matter to the soil is now more than sixty years
old. The far-reaching devastating side effects of this practice on all forms of life on
Earth—and their delicately balanced ecosystems—are too numerous to adequately
describe in anything less than a separate book.
Therefore, I recommend getting to know the organic farmers at your local farmer’s
markets and making sure that they use compost. (I prefer vegan fertilizers and compost
that don’t contain animal products or manure.) People find this difficult to hear, but I
also believe that if you live where farmer’s markets and organically grown tropical fruits
are not available, you would do well to consider relocating. Of course, growing your own
food would be best of all, and I highly recommend doing so, whenever possible.
2) We wash our produce.
A hundred years ago, people tended to bathe once a week or less, on average, and they
did not concern themselves with fastidiously washing the surfaces of their fruits and
vegetables as they do these days. In part, this is another result of agrochemical food
production, as people have been misled to believe that pesticide residues can be
adequately washed off by rinsing or scrubbing the outsides of their produce.
In the past, when people ate lettuce, celery, carrots, and other vegetables fresh from
the ground, the soil left clinging to the vegetables often contained vitamin B12. They also
obtained the nutrient from the bacteria-laden dirt that accumulates near the stems of
apples, peaches, pears, and other core and stone fruits. But between the chemicals we
apply to the soils and our obsessive fear of germs and bacteria, we effectively eliminate
this source of the nutrient, as well.
3) We cannot absorb the B12 we eat.
Meat eaters easily consume enough B12 because the bacteria that make it, live in the
digestive tracts of livestock, and it is distributed in the muscle meats of the animals they
eat. As described earlier, vegans who eat organically grown plants from richly
composted soils, and who don’t compulsively wash their produce, should also get plenty
of the nutrient.
In both of these cases, vitamin B12 deficiency is usually only a problem if you lack
a chemical called the “intrinsic factor,” which causes people to be unable to absorb B 12.
How does this occur? It seems that intrinsic factor production is reduced as dietary fat
increases. This is by far the most common cause of B12 deficiency. Doctors can easily
test whether a person has a normal ability to absorb B12. For those who do not, no
amount of the vitamin in the diet will help. Thus, all of us, vegetarians and meat eaters
alike, are at risk of B12 deficiency.
A high-fat diet increases this risk substantially, for two reasons. First, the colonies
of B12-producing bacteria in our intestines utilize carbohydrates for fuel. As the amount
of fat in our diets goes up, the amount of carbohydrate goes down, thus reducing the
quantity of fuel available to the microbe. Less fuel results in a smaller colony and an
overall decrease in B12 production. Second, the B12 uptake sites in our intestines become
clogged when there is excess fat in the diet, further reducing B12 absorption. When
reduced B12 production is coupled with impaired absorption, the likelihood of B12
deficiency becomes predictable.
4) Medical B12 standards are artificially high.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that many refined starchy foods are
“enriched” with a synthetic form of vitamin B12. When doctors test for “normal” B12
levels, their results are skewed towards the high end by the fact that most people eat
these foods (mostly grain products—cereals, breads, pasta, cookies, cakes, etc.) on a
daily basis. People who eat a grain-free diet not supplemented by this poor imitation of
the natural nutrient often test “low” for B12 even if their levels are healthy and they are
totally asymptomatic. This is because their B12 levels are being compared to those of
people who are consuming a B12 supplement in their food at almost every meal.
How important is it to eat organically grown food?
Organic produce is always to be preferred, but life is full of compromises and
choices. It may be better to eat commercially grown raw vegetables than to eat cooked or
steamed organic vegetables, but it is a difficult choice.
Organically grown produce generally contains more vitamins and minerals than
conventional produce (see the FAQ on vitamin B 12 on page 254), and the fresher it is the
better. Organic produce generally contains little or no pesticide residue in comparison
with conventional produce; nevertheless, the amounts involved are not usually critical to
health, and it is far more important to avoid the pathogenic effects from cooked food.
To concern yourself with pesticide residues while eating cooked food is a proverbial
fire and frying pan situation. Neither is good for us. The best solution is to consume only
organic raw plants. Otherwise, the decision is much like choosing whether to shoot
oneself in the foot or shoot oneself in the hand.
In the case of cooked complex carbohydrates (grains, potatoes, corn, legumes),
however, eating them both raw and free of synthetic chemicals has recently become a
matter of grave concern. Commercial agroscientists are scrambling to counteract the
seriously negative press being caused by a recently discovered DNA-damaging
carcinogen and neurotoxin called acrylamide. This potent chemical killer was found in
high concentrations in the food supply in 2002 by a Swedish researcher.
Scientists at the World Health Organization and elsewhere originally attributed
shockingly high levels of acrylamide (found most prominently in bread, chips, crackers,
french fries, and other dry-cooked carbohydrates) to the cooking process itself, because
they found none to be present in raw foods. But we have since learned that acrylamide is
a building block for polyacrylamide, a surfactant added to enhance the effectiveness of
Monsanto’s Roundup and other herbicide products used ubiquitously in industrial
Further research is in order to determine whether bread, pastries, and crispy snacks
made from organically grown plants contain this lethal chemical, but in any case the
presence of acrylamide in these foods presents one more nail in the coffin of the standard
American diet. If you still eat these foods, I urge you to do at least some reading about
this profoundly toxic chemical. You can begin with the two articles referenced in the
endnotes of this book.85
Do I have to do calculations every day?
No. You don’t have to calculate percentages every day to make sure you’re eating
properly. By eating primarily fruit, vegetables, and leafy greens, your diet is
automatically close to the ideal of 80/10/10. However, you may want to use a calculator
to determine whether you are getting enough calories for the day to meet your basic
metabolic and exercise needs.
The tools in Appendix D. Resources for Diet Analysis are especially helpful to the
newcomer, because it is common to undereat fruit and overeat fatty foods when
beginning the raw vegan diet. I recommend that you input your food information into
CRON-O-Meter or on,, or another similar website for at
least a week, to make sure you have the relevant information about your calories and
caloronutrient ratio.
Very often, people simply do not eat enough because their stomachs are used to
accepting a certain volume of food each day, and raw foods are not as calorie dense as
cooked foods. Therefore, to consume enough calories, you need to train your stomach to
accept more food, especially fruits.
How do I eat so much fruit at once?
It takes some practice to develop the ability to consume what, from the raw
perspective, should be thought of as “normal” amounts of food for a human. Somewhere
in between “all you care for” and “all you can” there is a happy medium that will enable
you to increase the amount you consume without overeating. The stomach is very
accommodating in this regard and will stretch quickly to allow you to consume
normal/healthy quantities of fruit.
At the same time, your image of what is a healthy amount, and your mindset about
quantities of fruit will grow to match your ability to eat it. The more you practice eating
meals of just fruit, only fruit, and nothing but fruit, the easier and easier it will become
to consume appropriate volumes.
If your fruit meal does not “hold” you until the next meal time, at least three to five
hours later, then you did not eat a sufficient quantity of food. With practice, it will get
easier. Until then, feel free to add an extra fruit meal between breakfast and lunch, and
again between lunch and dinner.
What does “mono eating” mean?
Mono eating is the practice of eating one particular food for an entire meal, in
sufficient quantity to produce satiation until the next meal. This is the way that every
nonhuman creature on Earth generally eats. I recommend eating monomeals for optimal
digestion, absorption, and assimilation.
A monomeal might consist of four or five bananas for a sedentary beginner or
twelve to eighteen bananas for a seasoned raw athlete. Another monomeal might be two
or three mangos for the beginner, and four or more for the athlete.
It is important to remember when reading about food volumes that a small inactive
woman may only eat a quarter of what an active male could eat. Do not be intimidated
when you hear a low-fat raw vegan athlete tell you that he ate a dozen or more bananas
for lunch. Four or five may be sufficient to meet your needs if you are a smaller, less
active individual.
Variety is obtained over time, throughout the seasons, not at every meal. In nature,
if sufficient food is available, animals tend to eat one food at a time until they are full.
What’s wrong with avocados, nuts, and seeds?
Avocados, nuts, and seeds are extremely high in fat content, especially nuts and seeds:
Avocado (77% fat): 4 ounces (about ½) = 200 calories; 165 fat.
Almonds (73% fat): 4 ounces (½ cup+) = 650 calories; 480 fat.
Flaxseeds (58% fat): 4 ounces (¾ cup) = 560 calories; 325 fat.
When it comes to fat, the source doesn’t matter so much; fat is fat. Fat travels from
the lymph system directly into the blood. Too much fat will thicken the blood, causing
the red blood cells to clump together so they cannot deliver oxygen to the cells. Excess
fat also blocks the action of insulin in bringing sugars to the cells, which leads to
diabetes and other blood-sugar problems. (Chapter 2 discusses this in detail.)
It is best to eat only small amounts of avocados, nuts, and seeds (not more than half
of an avocado in a day or one ounce of nuts for a sedentary person; twice that for an
athlete), and not to eat them daily. Fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens contain adequate
high-quality fatty acids (assuming we’re getting enough calories) to meet all of our
Eventually, it is best to free yourself from the desire to experience a heavy feeling
after a meal, as this is an indicator that the digestive system is being overworked. In
order to feel satisfied, it is best to eat large amounts of sweet fruit, which may pass
through your stomach quickly, but will satisfy true hunger for hours.
What do you mean by “true hunger”?
True hunger is a sensation that occurs primarily deep in the low part of the throat,
much like the feeling of thirst, but a bit lower, about where the concave “notch” appears
between the collar bones, at the bottom of the neck. The sensation might be described as
resembling a dull ache.
The stomach sensation we commonly associate with hunger is often the result of its
muscular walls shrinking after completing the digestive task of the last meal. If a
perceived feeling of hunger is accompanied by feelings of faintness, stomach pangs,
headaches, or other discomforts, it is actually a sign of withdrawal from harmful
A healthy person can skip a meal or two with no feelings of weakness or distress.
When one is healthy, true hunger signifies no urgency for food, since the body knows it
has reserves for its use in time of need. You should be at all times comfortable in your
Is eating sea salt all right?
Extracted sodium chloride, in any form is an irritant and is toxic to the body. It
deadens the taste buds’ ability to sense sweet, sour, or bitter (which is why salt users
often say that food has no taste without salt), retards digestion and excretion, and upsets
our critical natural water balance.
We must take care to distinguish here between extracted sodium chloride “salt”
(which is deadly), and the sodium and other mineral salts that occur naturally and
abundantly in whole plant foods (which are vitally important nutrients needed by every
cell of our bodies). Eating a variety of vegetables, especially celery and tomatoes,
provides all the organic salts and other minerals our bodies need in just the right
amounts and combinations we require.
Our cells rely on a delicately regulated ratio of sodium and potassium, with sodium
residing outside the cells (extracellular) and potassium inside (intracellular). If the
potassium/sodium ratio is at all out of balance, cellular dehydration or super saturation
result. Either of these conditions seriously compromises cellular function.
If we lose too much sodium through exercise or any other effort that results in
perspiration, potassium is “pulled” out of the cell to maintain the proper ratio.
Attempting to compensate by consuming salt simply stresses the body even more, like
trying to make up for lack of sleep by drinking coffee. The potassium within the cell
must be replaced in order for the cell to “hold” sodium extracellularly again.
The salt in seawater causes dehydration regardless of how it is consumed. Ocean
water is caustic and irritating, tastes vile, and causes people to vomit. In quantity,
drinking seawater causes death within days, even though it is diluted by a lot of water.
When we extract salt and ingest it with our meals, we head in the same direction,
only at a different speed. Removing the salt from seawater gives us sea salt, the very
substance that causes death by dehydration. Consuming sodium chloride of any kind—
including sea salts and other highly marketed, pricey specialty salts—is a selfdestructive practice. Specialty salt producers expend great effort to convince you that
you “need” the extracted minerals in their products to offset a grave nutritional
imbalance common in modern society. (Such deficiency may indeed exist, but in any
case it can be healthfully remedied only by eating an abundance of low-fat raw plant
foods. To do otherwise only creates more nutritional imbalances.)
True, we need minerals … but we need to ingest them in the quantities and the form
in which they occur in whole plant foods. Eating a highly mineralized form of poison
makes no logical sense whatsoever.
Salt eaters who cease the practice can often take years to expel all of the retained
salt from their bodies. But take heart, as the bulk of salt (and cravings) diminish
significantly within just a few short weeks of total abstinence. I cannot overemphasize
the importance of making the commitment to wean yourself from this ubiquitous poison.
Can I use vinegar in my salad dressing?
All forms of vinegar, including apple cider and balsamic, are highly toxic to the
human body. Vinegar is made by diluting one part acetic acid (a common poison found
in any chemistry laboratory … in a bottle with a skull and crossbones) with 19 parts
Vinegar excessively stimulates the thyroid gland, leading to hyperthyroidism and
eventually hypothyroidism and concomitant health issues such as endocrine disorders,
calcium metabolic disorders, metabolic rate disorders, fat metabolism problems, bodyweight issues, lethargy, headaches, and the classic bulging of the eyes. This stimulation
also accelerates the aging process.
The body pulls phosphorus from the adrenal glands to negate the effects of acetic
acid in the system. Depleted phosphorus results in impaired function of the adrenal
glands and thus, again, the entire endocrine system. The outcome of all this can include
body odor, pains in the heart, rapid pulse, increased mucus production, chronic fatigue,
and headaches. Repetitive use of vinegar will also result in hardening of the liver.
Vinegar should not be considered “food.”
Is it okay to eat frozen produce?
Some damage to living foods occurs when they are frozen. Freezing can expand and
burst cell walls, and the resulting oxidation diminishes the nutritional value of the food.
However, nuts and seeds, which are designed to survive through cold winters, are less
damaged by being frozen. Generally, the lower the water and the higher the fat content of
a whole, fresh food, the better it will take to freezing.
As for fruits and vegetables, the practice of freezing should be minimized but not
necessarily eliminated, as it is one of the least-damaging ways to preserve foods
(especially when a chest freezer is used instead of the frost-free variety). One advantage
of freezing food relative to other forms of preservation is that freezing introduces no
known toxins.
You should be aware that eating frozen and ice-cold foods damages the essential
bacterial colonies that live in your gut and may be harmful to the bacteria that produce
vitamin B12. Once again, we see that eating foods as we find them in nature proves to be
the most healthful … it is true every time.
Are dehydrated foods OK to eat?
Dehydrated foods are not whole foods; they have had their water removed.
Unfortunately, we have not been taught to recognize the vital value of water as it comes
packaged in fresh plant foods. Fruits and vegetables are nature’s most pristine water
filters, and the water we cook and dehydrate out of them can never be adequately
replaced. Drinking water, no matter how purified, alkalized, or “structured,” just doesn’t
Dehydrated foods can never be as nutritious as the whole, fresh foods they started
as. Nutrient damage has been shown to occur, even if the water is replaced. The use of
dehydrates is a personal decision, but dried foods should always be considered at best a
compromise, second in quality to whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits and vegetables.
Current research indicates that vitamin B12 changes to an analog and unusable form
where it is found in dehydrated foods. This appears to be true, by the way, for spirulina,
chlorella, algaes, and other pills and powders made from ocean plants.
What about spices and condiments?
In Natural Hygiene, there is a saying, “If you can’t make a meal of it, it likely is not
people food.” When people hear this statement, they often view it as draconian and
idealistic, for it rules out the consumption of virtually all spices, seasonings, and
condiments. Yet, think about it: no creatures in nature season their foods, nor even
generally combine more than one food in a meal (at least not for purposes of gustatory
Yes, humans are undoubtedly different than the “lower” animals. We have the
dexterity and the equipment to mix up grand concoctions (“combo-a-bombs,” as R.C.
Dini so aptly dubbed them), and we have the ingenuity to create gloriously seasoned
taste treats. But I promise you, our digestive systems have not kept up with our creativity
—not by a long shot. In fact, they are virtually identical to those of our ancient ancestors,
as well as those of modern-day frugivorous anthropoid primates. By design, we are
meant to eat one whole plant food at a time, unadorned, until we have made a meal of it.
Herbs and spices like garlic, onion, curry, cumin, ginger, cayenne, chili powder, and
oregano contain alkaloids and other toxic chemicals. These seasonings stimulate our
taste buds and nerves while delivering toxins to our nervous systems. Their use should be
avoided, or at least minimized. They act as irritants in the digestive tract, often causing
the body to produce mucus for protection. They also function to disguise the bland or
noxious taste of cooked foods and seduce us into consuming foods that would not attract
us on their own.
Like salt, spices provide such an intense “flavor hit” that our taste buds lose their
ability to recognize the natural but more subtle tastes of fruits and vegetables. The same
holds true for the use of all condiments, including mustard and ketchup.
Can I drink coffee on the raw diet?
The beans in coffee are roasted, making them no longer a raw food item. The fatal
dose of caffeine is 10 grams, the amount in approximately 70 cups of coffee. Caffeine is
considered such a powerful drug that just three cups of coffee supplies enough caffeine
to disqualify an athlete from competing in the Olympic games.
Many people take one tenth of the lethal dose every day. I had one patient who
drank over thirty cups of coffee per day. His health was failing, but it was regained when
he stopped this noxious habit, which he did overnight.
Moreover, caffeine decreases the amount of pepsin in your body. Pepsin is used in
the digestion of protein. Ironically, many coffee drinkers on the standard American diet
criticize the raw diet because they believe they would not receive “enough” protein every
day, while their daily intake of coffee impedes their absorption of the very protein they
claim they need.
Caffeine is also known to deplete the body of water, calcium, potassium,
manganese, and the vitamin B complex. Caffeine is just one of many toxic substances
that can be found in coffee.
Should I continue taking my medications?
The medical profession and its supporting industry, the medico pharmaceutical
cartel, operate from the theory that thousands of separate illnesses exist whose
symptoms can be treated or suppressed by ingesting synthetic chemical compounds. The
Natural Hygiene approach is entirely different.
We recognize that genetically inherited abnormalities exist, usually arising from
generations of poor dietary and lifestyle choices, and that very little can be done about
these. Otherwise, however, we propose that there is only one illness: toxemia. This is a
condition of unclean blood and tissues, caused primarily by improper diet and lifestyle.
Unchecked, toxemia and its attendant enervation (nervous exhaustion) get progressively
worse over the years, leading to all manner of symptoms.
People find this very difficult to comprehend, but we must remember that the
symptoms are not the disease. Rather, symptoms are actually the body’s methods of
coping with toxemia. In order to “cure” a disease condition, such as diabetes, cancer, or
cardiovascular disease, one must eliminate the underlying toxemia of which the
“disease” is only a manifestation.
As you begin to eat a healthy 80/10/10 raw diet, you will no longer overload your
body on a daily basis with toxic residue from food. Your body will begin to clean your
blood, tissues, and organs of their toxicity, and the medical condition(s) for which you
are taking the pharmaceutical medicine(s) will fade away. Check with your doctor as
your health improves, in time he or she will likely agree that your need to medicate will
become obsolete.
Generally, the younger you are and the less time the body has spent in the toxic
state, the more rapidly it will clean itself. An older person with more accompanying
degeneration and accumulated toxicity may take longer to cleanse and return to a healthy
state. Nevertheless, limited only by its vitality level, the body will respond positively to
cessation of the daily insult of cooked foods and high-fat raw foods and to their
replacement with whole, fresh, ripe, raw fruits and vegetables. Still, food is only one part
of healthful living, and proper eating will never result in health in and of itself.
Pharmaceutical medicines are toxic substances that you introduce into your system
at your own peril. Rarely are any claims made that a drug will cure any particular
chronic disease. At best, they usually profess only to substitute one set of symptoms for
The Myth of the “Cure”
The very notion that “cure” is possible is preposterous. Healing, on the other hand is
not only possible but is ongoing. The inborn healing intelligence of the body is always at
work, repairing us and compensating for the challenges we subject it to. This healing
occurs as quickly and efficiently as possible given our level of vital energy—and in a
priority order we cannot comprehend. All attempts (both conventional and “alternative”)
to aid this process through outside interventions or treatments or ingestion of any
external substances only shift symptoms and create greater problems for the body in the
long run.
Healing comes through cessation of cause. We are never cured from a disease or
symptom, for if we once again participate in its cause the body again begins the process
of generating the symptoms in response.
The fact that pharmaceutical drugs are sold legally over the counter or are
prescribed by licensed physicians does not make them any less dangerous to health than
street drugs. Over 100,000 people die each year from the side effects of these patented
medicines. No one has ever died from eating an adequate supply of fruits and vegetables.
The advice to continue or curtail a particular medication is beyond the scope of this
book. However, any reputable physician should encourage his or her patients to improve
their underlying health so as to make the continued reliance on pharmaceutical
medications unnecessary.
How can I stay raw in the winter cold?
Fortunately, most folks who live in colder climates have homes in which to eat,
sleep, work, and live. We maintain our homes at comfortable temperatures. People
continue to drink cold beer and eat ice cream in the winter. They eat hot food in the heat
of summer. Neither geography nor the seasons are valid reasons for us to change our diet
from 80/10/10.
If in cold weather a person finds that they need more food, it is perfectly acceptable
to increase consumption. The caloronutrient percentages should not change appreciably,
however, just as it does not change whether a person consumes 1,500 calories per day or
4,500 calories per day. Of course, it is almost always a healthy idea to take a winter
vacation to a warm-weather climate if you live in a location where this season is
particularly harsh.
Is there such a thing as foods that heal?
It is important to understand that foods don’t heal us; the body does all the healing.
Foods, cooked or raw, simply supply the materials the body uses to perform its various
functions. However, low-fat raw vegan foods provide the widest range of high-quality
nutrients and are, therefore, more likely to furnish the perfect proportion of raw
materials needed by the body for healing.
Beyond that, no specific raw food is better for “healing” than any other. Each
supplies a form of raw material that the body may need and use. Unlike cooked foods,
raw foods do this without leaving a toxic residue that can overwhelm the body’s ability
to maintain a healthy, balanced state.
A good variety of low-fat raw vegan foods in the diet is more than adequate to
attain, regain, or maintain health. It is always healthiest and most economical to
emphasize in-season foods that are grown locally, as these will likely be the freshest. It
is best to seek out variety over the course of the year, rather than combining foods at
every meal, every day, or even every week.
Is it all right to juice fruits and vegetables?
With a few exceptions, it is preferable to consume the whole foods rather than to
extract and drink part of them. Drinking fruit or vegetable juice without the pulp being
present to slow the absorption rate of the nutrients can spike the blood sugar and throw
your blood chemistry out of balance.
One exception is fresh-squeezed citrus fruits, since a significant portion of the pulp
is generally retained with the juice. The other “exceptions” are to blend fruits such as
melons into a watery slush or to make fruit smoothies out of fruits like bananas,
strawberries, peaches, or mangos. Liquefying a blender full of whole fruit turns it into a
thick smoothie, while keeping the entire nutritional package together. Blending whole
tomato, celery, and orange makes a thick, tasty, salad dressing.
Do I need to take supplements?
You have no need for supplements if you are eating a calorically adequate low-fat
plant-based raw diet, engaging in frequent vigorous activity, and otherwise living a
healthful lifestyle. All the vitamins, minerals and nutrients any body needs are amply
supplied through the variety of fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens found in a healthful
That said, the health of each individual always takes priority over any philosophical
position. In individual cases, it may be necessary to supplement the diet nutritionally
during the initial phases of lifestyle change rather than risk potential health damage. One
example of this is a possible need to supplement B12. If you experience extended periods
of extreme stress, are nursing, eating too much frozen food, are in transition, or your
food is not grown in healthy soil, supplementing this nutrient for a short period of time
may be beneficial. Supplementation would be done solely to allow time for the benefits
of correct living to accrue or for extenuating circumstances to pass.
Nonetheless, the amount of nutrients that we require, across the board, is far less
than conventional guidelines would have us believe. When the body is in a fit and
healthy state and all systems are working optimally, we experience superior absorption
and utilization and overall greater efficiency in every aspect of cellular function. When
we slow down and gum up the works with fat, however, it’s a different story. And
supplement vendors capitalize on this fact to your detriment.
People have come to equate nutrition with pills, powders, and potions, rather than
with whole foods from nature. Ironically, you generally won’t find a single food of any
kind in most “health-food” stores. Their products, no matter how “whole” or “natural”
the ingredients, may shift symptoms but do not and cannot create true health.
If “health foods” were truly whole and natural, they would contain all of the water,
fiber, and other vital components that nature provides them with, and their sale would
require no packaging or labels. (The profit margins would also dwindle, as whole
produce doesn’t carry the markup of “nutritional” products.)
No pill or powder that has had any of its water removed can properly be called a
“whole-food” supplement, and anyone who markets their dehydrated product as such is
kidding themselves, as well as you. The water in our plant foods is simply too critical for
our cellular health to be compromised, and no drinking water of any kind can ever
adequately make up the difference. When the water is removed, the oxidative process
that occurs has a degrading impact on the nutrients that remain, leaving supplements far
less nutritious than their whole-food counterparts.
When people follow the nutritionally unsound advice of supplement salesmen
selling fractional, isolated “foods,” they shouldn’t be surprised when they end up not
feeling their best, with a nagging sense that “something” is wrong. This opens the door
wide for the salesman to then sell supplements to “correct” the dietary and nutritional
insufficiencies their own advice occasioned.
I’m always dumbfounded when I hear about the money people spend on nutritional
supplements. It seems there is no high-end limit to the amount of product recommended
by supplement salesmen. In conveyor-belt fashion, they roll out a bewildering array of
“newly discovered” miracle “foods,” while at the same time replacing older products
with newly reformulated versions. Such antics essentially amount to an open admission
that yesterday’s silver bullet, which they touted so highly, really didn’t work as well as
their sales pitch had promised.
Most of what comes from the world of nutrition these days is no more than slick
marketing disguised as education, in the form of infomercials and edutisements. The
marketer informs the audience that some nutrient is good for a particular condition and
then follows up with a strong push to convince the audience to buy lots of it.
Of course, the marketers neglect to mention that too much of that nutrient is
harmful in a variety of ways, not the least of which is the inevitable imbalances that
result when we consume supplements of any kind. Most supplements are concentrated
from plant foods, and despite our American “more is better” mindset, the body does not
appreciate these unnatural concentrates and has to work to expel them similarly to the
way it has to eliminate toxic residue from cooked foods.
Like an amateur barber who finds himself trimming each side of the hair to make
things “even” until his client is bald, a person who supplements with single nutrients (or
any formulation or combination of extracted nutrients) inevitably creates greater and
more confounding imbalances, whether or not the cause and effect are discernible in the
short term. It is always better to correct the diet than to supplement it. On a healthy diet,
supplements are not needed. On a less-than-healthy diet, supplements do not make up for
the nutrition that is lacking.
Is the raw food concept flawed?
Every creature on this planet has a specific diet for which it is designed. All animals
get their nourishment exclusively from the foods present in their natural environment—
one food at a time, when they are hungry, until they are full. Simplicity at meals ensures
optimum digestion and nutrition. Animals do not use or demonstrate any need for
supplements or condiments. Nature provides adequately for all life forms, and humans
are not an exception.
Like all other primates, we were made to function perfectly on the amount of
nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, in the quantities that we would eat those foods
whole. Juicing, dehydrating, concentrating, and refining those foods introduces excesses
and nutritional imbalances that our bodies were not designed to deal with.
I maintain that the optimal raw food diet consists of whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic
plants—in the 80/10/10 caloronutrient ratio—period. The raw food kitchen need not
include jars, bottles, boxes, cans, bags, capsules, powders, remedies, potions, pills, or
tinctures of any kind.
So many eager new raw fooders find themselves in the unfortunate situation where
some nutritional “guru” guides them to “the world’s most nutritious diet” and then
convinces them that the diet is inadequate and requires supplementation. The ultimate
promotion strategy, this ploy is as old as marketing itself: First you create a problem,
then you sell the solution. How many mom-and-pop grocery stores were vandalized by
the very men who were there to sell them “security”? How many people became patients
for life by following the advice of their medical doctors?
The problem, in the case of raw foods, is that people do not feel great when they eat
insufficient carbohydrates or when they continually under consume total calories. They
experience voracious hunger, and they binge, falling off the “raw food wagon”
repeatedly. They develop uncomfortable and unhealthy relationships with food. Their
health deteriorates as their diet becomes erratic.
I choose to acquire my learning on any topic from organizations and individuals
whose clear and explicit intention is to educate me. I steer away from information
sources that include an obvious and motivated “back-of-the-room” sales table filled with
consumables and repeat products that will, if they have it their way, have me coming
back for more … for years to come.
If the only way to be truly well nourished is to consume vitamins, minerals, oils,
enzymes, medicinal herbs, white powdered pharmaceuticals such as MSM, refined
isolates such as lecithin, “super” foods such as algae and sea vegetables, and other
purportedly “nutrition-enhancing” substances, then the raw food concept is flawed.
Appendix C. Personal Success Stories with 80/10/10
Mark Squire, St. Petersburg, Florida
Back a few years ago, a struggling raw food friend of mine referred me to the work
of a guy named Doug Graham. I had never heard of him before, so I began to educate
myself a bit on the message he brought to the table. My first reaction? “This guy is a
damned fool!” However, I had become so frustrated with my current raw food program
(which was about 50% fat) that I was willing to give anything a shot.
I started eating larger and larger portions of fruit, but still neglected other important
aspects of healthy living. Now my initial stance was solidified: “This guy IS a fool and
his suggestions are insane!” Yet, for some reason, I continued on. Why, I do not know.
Slowly but surely, Doug’s teachings made more and more sense. The more
consistently I applied Doug’s program (with a little dash of Squire mixed in) I began to
notice miraculous things happening. Not only was my health improving dramatically, but
I was also getting stronger and faster, and my endurance was skyrocketing. I had been
lifting weights on a raw food diet for three years prior to 811 and had nothing to show for
it. Roughly one full year later, being 100% dedicated to keeping my fruit intake high, I
was nearly 30 lbs. heavier, all of which was muscle. Over the next year, I added an
additional 10 lbs. of muscle, bringing my total up to 40 lbs.
The added muscle isn’t the main benefit of being on a raw food diet. The best part
of the whole journey has been my childlike energy levels, my blissful state of joy, and
my ability to tune into nature, all of which were amplified measurably. When I was
about to give up on raw foods once and for all, Doug steered me back on the right track.
The program isn’t easy, but with enough inner strength and persistence, you will
undoubtedly experience a radical transformation in every aspect of your life. As much
trash as I talked about Doug in my learning process, it’s because this 811 program was
changing me down to the core. My belief system was threatened, and I fired off about
him, as a defense mechanism. It was quite a struggle getting to the point I’m at now, but
now I see as clear as day that Doug is an amazing person, and I have nothing but the
utmost respect for him and what he does. My stamp of approval is all over this book, and
all over Dr. D. himself. Thanks a million, brother!
Cyrus Khambatta, San Francisco, California
I’ll never forget the first time I exercised with Dr. Graham. I was half his age, in the
prime of my athletic life, fueled by a combination of years of soccer training and an
ever-growing dose of athletic hubris. I thought to myself, “I’ll show this guy what it
really means to work out.” It took only fifteen minutes to realize that I had completely
underestimated Dr. Graham.
I was so wrong, in fact, that there was nothing I could do that Dr. Graham couldn’t.
I was flabbergasted that a man as old as my father could jump higher, run faster, balance
longer, react quicker, push harder, lift more, breathe slower, and still have more energy
at the end of the day. What was accounting for an athletic ability that I had witnessed in
only a handful of other athletes in my life? How could he recover faster than me when he
was more than fifty years old? What was he fueling his body with that I wasn’t?
The truth is, at the age of twenty-two I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a lifechanging condition that not only changed my relationship with food, but was silently
crippling my body. Having implemented the recommended Atkins-esque “low-carb”
diet, I had reduced my insulin intake by 25%. I thought that I had taken steps to ensure
my long-term health. Instead, I was taking steps in the wrong direction, further
exacerbating the autoimmune reaction by consuming grossly high levels of animal
protein and fat.
I did exactly what the cookbooks instructed me to do: I eliminated breads and
pastas, routinely consumed more fish, and increased my consumption of chicken, beef,
eggs, and dairy. A few times a week I snacked on fruits and vegetables, but only when
the dairy and meat drawers in the fridge were empty. The low-carb approach seemed
quite logical; if carbohydrates are responsible for spikes in blood sugar, limiting their
intake should regulate blood-sugar levels throughout the day. I bragged to my friends
and family about how I had “figured out” diabetes, and how I was able to control my
blood sugar better than most.
Despite this, I failed to make the connection between the low-carb diet and my
ailing athletic health. I rationalized that because I was past my eighteen-year-old athletic
prime it was normal to be constantly fighting injury. I settled for the explanation that my
physical health was on a course for the worse. After all, I was in constant receipt of a
pessimistic outlook from medical professionals.
I learned of the 80/10/10 philosophy through a fortunate series of events involving a
friend in the San Francisco area who had unsuccessfully tried a raw food diet. Because
his diet was high in nuts and avocados, and thus high in fat, he did not gain long-term
benefit from his raw food experience. Having listened to his troubles, I was curious
about how to make a raw food diet work, especially in the context of improving diabetic
A few days into learning about 80/10/10 from Dr. Graham himself, I remember
thinking to myself, “eating fruits and vegetables—what a novel idea.” Why had it never
occurred to me before that the answer to my ailing health could simply be in the food
that I wasn’t consuming? I always knew that fruits and vegetables were good for you, but
as far as I knew, athletes were unable to sustain themselves without animal protein. From
the first time I was taught the food pyramid in second grade to the depths of the varsity
soccer locker room, it was always reinforced that animal protein was a necessity for
developing musculature, speed, and athletic endurance. After all, how can you perform
without protein?
My first inclination was to reject the 80/10/10 philosophy as a lifestyle that only
sedentary people could maintain successfully. Only because I was desperate to find a
better solution to overall health, I decided to give Dr. Graham and the 80/10/10 idea a
shot. If anything, his lifestyle had instant credibility based solely on his athletic prowess.
At the moment I officially adopted the 80/10/10 regimen, I decided that I would
give up meat. I also decided that I would give up grains and dairy. It would be hard, but
perhaps there was a benefit in this radical approach to nutrition. I was told by family and
friends to “be careful,” that giving up meat could have severe ramifications for my
health. People understood my desperation, but few were truly accepting of the low-fat
raw foods approach.
It has been more than two years now, and I can safely say that the benefits of being
on the 80/10/10 diet are more numerous than I could have ever imagined. My body has
completely changed. My skin is softer, my fingernails look normal for once in my life, I
am almost always well hydrated, my gums don’t bleed when I brush my teeth, and I
sleep more efficiently. For the first time in my life I am able to compete in endurance
athletics, supported by an enhanced ability to uptake, transport, and utilize oxygen. On
long bicycle rides, my heart rate stays unusually low, which allows me to push harder
than I previously could, and for longer periods of time.
Most important, I am able to consume more calories during the day on a fraction of
the insulin I was previously taking. The formula I use to monitor my progress is the ratio
of the number of grams of carbohydrates to the number of units of insulin. On the
Atkins-esque approach I had maximized this ratio at 16 grams of carbohydrates per unit
of insulin. By eating 80/10/10, I am now capable of eating 68 grams of carbohydrates per
unit of insulin when I partake in regular periods of endurance training. This means that I
am now able to eat larger quantities of food, use less insulin, and free myself physically
and psychologically from an insulin pump.
One unexpected benefit of the 80/10/10 diet that I have welcomed with open arms is
a seeming inability to get sick. Having transitioned to this form of nutrition at the end of
the autumn season, I was unknowingly providing my body with an influx of vitamins,
minerals, enzymes, sugars, fiber, coenzymes, phytonutrients, etc. that (in combination
with regular exercise and other elements of healthful living) would help build an
immune response capable of mounting an arsenal against a collection of the worst
maladies in years.
I live in an apartment with three other people, and work in an office building with
over one hundred and fifty others. The winter months brought a series of illnesses that
absolutely crippled my household, stopping each housemate in their tracks for at least
one three-day period each. One of my housemates suffered from three colds and/or bouts
of influenza, not only infecting my remaining housemates, but touching bowls, cups,
plates and silverware with almost no regard for common hygiene. At work, a number of
coworkers suffered from sicknesses that kept them from the office for a number of days
at a time. Without exception, almost every colleague produced symptoms at some point
between the months of November and March.
During this extended winter season the symptoms I produced were as follows: I
coughed on one occasion for about a minute, and sneezed a grand total of four times.
That’s it. Nothing more. Never once did I feel groggy, run down, suffer from a headache,
or feel nauseous. I surprised even myself. And because I am playfully competitive by
nature, I challenged my family and friends to a contest in trying to get me sick. So far no
one has succeeded, and quite frankly I don’t believe that anyone will.
Before becoming an 80/10/10 raw foodist, I had heard numerous allegations that
eliminating grains could increase mental clarity and create a heightened sense of
consciousness. I remained skeptical, wary about the change in mental perception that
could be brought about by a change in diet. I failed to make the connection between food
and systemic human health, ignorantly asserting that food has a limited capacity to affect
any more than the function of the digestive system. I didn’t believe that nutrition
possessed the power to change the way I think. I didn’t believe that the 80/10/10 diet
could change my emotional state. Simply stated, I didn’t believe that eating differently
could change any part of my consciousness. I was always taught to believe that
consciousness was governed by my genetic blueprint, and that it could only be affected
by either a drastic change in environmental conditions or an intensely traumatic
Once again, I was proven incorrect. Within the first month of eating 80/10/10, I
began to experience the ability to remember people’s names and faces, recall events
from several years back, and revisit playful ideas that I thought had escaped forever.
Throughout college my friends had labeled me as “the guy who has too much going on to
remember anything.” I used to invite friends to come and dine with me, forget about the
invitation, and be surprised when they showed up only a few hours later. I used to tell
people the same stories while they pretended to listen for the first time. A few times I
seriously believed that I suffered from a mild form of anterograde amnesia, a condition
in which an individual wanders through life unable to form new memories. In the same
way that I rationalized an athletic decline, I reasoned that it was normal to experience
mental deterioration in life, and that perhaps I was experiencing it earlier in life simply
because I was diabetic.
Now, however, I have a significantly improved memory. I can recall people’s names
after only a single brief meeting. I rarely forget an appointment or a commitment. I am
more productive in my job, and can work for longer periods of time in a single stretch. I
realize that I now have a memory more closely resembling that which I’m supposed to
have at my age—one that works, and one that works well. My days of using diabetes as
the generic scapegoat for any mental or physical health symptom are officially over.
Learning the 80/10/10 philosophy has helped me develop a holistic understanding of
nutrition that opposes the basic desire to obsess about the intake of a subset of nutrients.
Nutrition education in this country makes it almost impossible to know where to look for
essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, and calcium, to name a few. It is also
difficult to know how much of each nutrient one should aim to consume on a daily basis.
After all, the recommended daily allowance values change almost every year, and intake
values seem to change constantly, in a seemingly arbitrary fashion. There seems to be
little logic to this system.
Many Americans ponder about what the best source of omega-3 fatty acids is,
whether it’s necessary to consume bran flakes to keep “regular,” whether organic
produce is really worth the price differential, whether dairy products are the best source
of calcium, and whether supplementation is really necessary. One day you read an article
in the newspaper that claims one point of view; the next day you read an article in a
magazine that contradicts it completely. The information comes from hundreds of
sources, most of it is confusing, and almost nobody knows what to believe.
It wasn’t until learning the 80/10/10 philosophy that I finally learned how to filter
mainstream nutrition information to achieve optimal health. Dr. Graham’s coined
statement, “Increase the percentage of whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits and
vegetables in your diet” was so simple and so sensible that I felt like a fool for not
understanding it previously. In fact, after feeling the difference that whole fresh, ripe,
raw, organic fruits and vegetables made in my body, I never stopped to question my
nutrient intake. I stopped obsessing about individual nutrients and started focusing on
creating holistic health.
The message that I’ve taken from the 80/10/10 lifestyle is simple: eating a low-fat
vegan raw foods diet makes me feel like a natural human being. Besides feeling like a
million dollars every time I awake from deep slumber, I enjoy a feeling of simplicity
that was never present in my life on a cooked food diet. My perception of the world has
changed for the better, and I am more at peace with my friends, family, and daily
At first I thought that in order to become a raw food vegan you had to have a reason,
an ailment, or a condition. I thought that you had to be a cancer patient, a diabetic, or
someone suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. After all, why else would anyone
want to deprive him- or herself of the good food they grew up loving?
Today, however, I realize that the only reason you need to adopt the 80/10/10
lifestyle is that you want to feel like a natural human being. If you’re already athletic, be
prepared to experience increased performance and a shockingly efficient ability to
recover. If you’ve lost track of what’s important in your life, be prepared to experience
the simplicity of all that life has to offer. If you suffer from a clouded mental state, be
prepared to experience a new sense of clarity. And if you’re like me, and have a
condition like diabetes, be prepared to look to the future with an overwhelming sense of
hope, a gift that both the 80/10/10 nutritional philosophy and Dr. Graham have taught me
to never give up.
Justin Lelia, Miami, Florida
Dr. Graham is the strongest, most humane and effective health educators I know.
His level of happiness and his high-energy diet inspired my turnaround. Before Dr.
Graham’s program, I weighed 190 pounds, had chronic joint pain, worked in a fast-food
restaurant, and experienced dangerous levels of depression. Now, I play tennis and
basketball, have ridden my bike over 6,000 miles in three years, have lost close to fifty
pounds, and I work at an outdoor organic farmer’s market.
Dr. Graham’s emphasis on practicing a low-fat dietary regimen is particularly
noteworthy. Raw fats may be healthier than their cooked counterparts, but high-fat diets
remain unhealthy no matter how we slice, dice, or soak them.
The standard of health Dr. Graham upholds is humbling; indeed, it’s incredibly
challenging, and for this he remains unpopular with medically minded raw fooders. They
overestimate the power of food, and can often be heard giving others prescriptions,
treating foods as if they were drugs.
Doug refuses to promote fragmented nutrition, superfoods, supplements, flushes,
and other concepts designed to compensate for people’s lack of willpower, persistence,
and responsibility; he refuses to encourage the medically brainwashed. He has taught me
that the best way to help others heal is through friendship and attention, and by inspiring
them with outstanding levels of performance.
Dr. Graham is in a league of his own … another stratosphere. His humanity is alienlike in a world that is often categorized by greed and impatience. The amount of time
and energy Doug has graciously and patiently volunteered in order to help me and others
climb out of the hole we’ve dug ourselves into blows my mind. Sometimes I think he’s
too human for the world.
Janie Gardener, Kauai, Hawaii
I first came into contact with Dr. Graham through his VegSource online discussion
board about raw foods and sports nutrition. My visit there was prompted by my decision
to eat raw again.
The first time I tried going raw I did it a differently—high fat, low fruit with
ferments, condiments, oils, and the like. It worked better than any other diet I’d tried, but
my body wanted me to do what Dr. Graham’s program is all about, even though I did not
know Dr. Graham or his program back then.
Too bad I didn’t have the guts to just go with it like he did. I’m glad I found my way
back. Thank goodness I came across that discussion board and found out about Dr.
Graham’s 80/10/10 low-fat raw vegan diet. It has made all the difference in the
improvement of my health, well-being, and life. The differences are radically beyond
anything I had experienced before, beyond my hopes and expectations, and into a whole
new realm of health and vitality.
Autoimmune Disease
Prior to starting back on raw, I could see my health rapidly deteriorating before my eyes.
In the summer of 2001, I was diagnosed with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. This
autoimmune condition literally means that you have antibodies that are attacking your
own phosphorus fats. Symptoms are mostly related to a tendency of the blood to clot
and/or bleed excessively but also include heart attack, stroke, and easily bruised and
sunburned skin, as well as miscarriages. The condition is found in lupus patients, but
does not always develop into lupus or in all lupus patients.
I had at least four miscarriages and a host of other health problems before it was
diagnosed. I spent some time following my MD’s suggestions (aspirin), then my
chiropractor’s suggestions (fish oil), and a mix of alternating between the two, but it was
just getting worse—and I had the side effects of the “medicine” to deal with as well. I
tried eating more EFA-rich foods like salmon, flaxseed oil, walnuts, etc., but that didn’t
help either.
When I switched to Dr. Graham’s program, I decided to stop all of the fish and fish
oil, flaxseed oil, and aspirin I had been taking. I started working on eating the 80/10/10
raw vegan way in June of 2002. At first I misunderstood the 10% (or lower) fat
recommendation, thinking it referred to overt fats, not all fats, as I couldn’t imagine not
eating much overt fat. I had been eating a very high-fat diet all of my life, including
when I ate raw/living foods the last time around.
Thus, I started out by keeping my overt fat intake down to not more than 10% of
calories (about 20% overall), which isn’t quite 80/10/10. This
intermediate step allowed me to get things going well enough to experience
fantastic results and inspired me to keep on going. About six months into it, I discovered
my mistake and adjusted my diet and activity level so that I was able to meet the
recommendations soon afterwards. I don’t think I could have done 80/10/10 without this
transition, even if I had understood it from the beginning.
I had enormous improvements in my first six months, even with my 20%-ish fat
intake. The improvements were way beyond those I had experienced eating any other
way (including other variants of the raw/living-food diet). I am now doing 80/10/10
fully, have taken no supplements or medications of any kind since the beginning, and I
feel great! All of my symptoms have improved and in some cases, disappeared! I am
wonderfully pleased with the results!
Four Miscarriages
Backing up a bit, in college I became a vegetarian, and eventually a vegan, trying various
versions of both. At the age of twenty-three, on a cooked vegan diet, I gave birth to my
son and raised him on cooked vegan food. I discovered Natural Hygiene and living foods
when he was a toddler and worked toward eating a vegan raw/living-food diet.
When my son was about seven years old, my husband and I decided to birth another
child. It took a few years before I became pregnant. Unfortunately, I miscarried. My
family and I had been following the living-food diet for about a year and a half. During
that time, I was eating for nutrients and even created a custom Microsoft Access
database to track my nutrient intake. This enabled me to compare my intake with the
requirements for a pregnant woman, and assure myself that I was meeting all of the
Some people, including my midwife, blamed my diet, assuming a lack of protein or
“something,” although my OB/GYN (an MD), upon seeing my diet, did not think it was
diet related. Even though my database indicated I was getting plenty of protein, I was
unsure, as my husband was concerned about protein overall, and we had a friend who’d
failed on raw claiming lack of protein as the culprit. (We now realize it was due to other
I also was not listening to my body’s desire for a diet like 80/10/10, as I was
surrounded by fruit-fearing, living-food misinformation. I was eating for nutrients rather
than health, and I was not feeling as vital as I could have on raw, as a result. Since I had
my son while eating a vegan diet (including cooked), I decided to temporarily go back to
cooked vegan (with raw) in order to have another child, and planned to go back to raw
afterwards. Too bad I didn’t know Dr. Graham then. I could have saved a lot of time and
Going back to cooked vegan, of course, did not work, and I ended up having another
miscarriage a year later. I decided to add in dairy and eggs and had another miscarriage
the year after that. In the meantime I saw people who ate all sorts of diets and lived
unhealthy lifestyles having children left and right. From my farmer’s perspective, I
figured that maybe it was similar to the way plants go to seed when stressed, in order to
continue their genetics before they die. I thought that perhaps I’d have a baby more
easily if I was less healthy, and then I could regain my health afterwards. I was grasping
at straws, trying whatever I could to have a baby.
During that third miscarriage I tried adding in poultry and fish and stayed on that
diet to try again. I didn’t get pregnant for some time and thought, maybe I just couldn’t
anymore. Years later, at the age of thirty six, I became pregnant again—unexpectedly—
and again miscarried.
It wasn’t until this fourth confirmed miscarriage that additional blood work led to a
diagnosis of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. I gave up on birthing another child,
because I did not want to take the drugs or risks involved, nor subject a child to them,
either. In retrospect, it seems clear to me that my high-fat diet caused this condition
and/or greatly contributed to it. After following Dr. Graham’s raw vegan program,
including the reduced fat, which I feel is key, my observable symptoms of the
autoimmune condition have either reduced or completely disappeared. And that is
Since our son is now an adult, we are not sure if we will attempt to birth any more
children at this point. But at least I feel like it is a viable option again. Now that I am
enjoying the best health and vitality of my life, I am confident that I would have a
successful pregnancy and a healthy child, if I were to become pregnant while following
the 80/10/10 plan.
Symptoms Gone Since 80/10/10
My condition tended to make my blood clot more readily, which affected my periods
(and also caused the miscarriages). I no longer get the clots with my periods, nor the
weird hormonal “off” feelings I’d get from ovulation through menstruation.
I no longer bruise mysteriously and easily with the littlest of bumps or pressure. In
fact, it’s hard to get a bruise these days, even if I have some pretty major thing happen.
Lesser events gave me major hematomas before. I also don’t get the “restless leg
syndrome” all night anymore, or that pain in the veins and arteries of my legs that felt
like a clot was forming (that got worse with aspirin or fish oil taken too late in the day).
I don’t know if it’s all gone yet, but I definitely know my condition isn’t getting
worse (as it was when following the instructions of my MD and chiropractor). I do plan
to get my blood tested when I can for the numerical proof; however, I don’t really think I
need it anymore. I am fairly convinced that the condition is gone, or lowered to such a
degree that it is not a problem anymore.
Unexpected Gains and Benefits
Dr. Graham’s program has improved my life not only in the ways I had hoped for, but
also in ways I never imagined were possible. I have eaten 100% raw, low-fat vegan for
more than four years so far, and things are still getting better every day. It’s amazing—
absolutely amazing.
When I first read about Dr. Graham’s program, it made total sense to me and had
the “ring” of truth. I had some questions about the volume and frequency of food at first,
but soon learned (from my body) that my body agreed with even those recommendations.
Admittedly, I tend to lean toward Natural Hygiene, and Dr. Graham’s recommendations
are about the simplest and most efficient way of following Natural Hygiene I’ve found.
With every other diet change, my results were much more subtle than this. I’ve
eaten variations of the standard American diet (SAD), SAD with no red meat, lacto-ovo
vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, vegan, vegan macrobiotic, vegan Natural Hygiene, and even
raw (the living foods way), and others. I felt improvements with each diet change in
different ways, but nothing came close to what I’ve experienced with Dr. Graham’s lowfat 80/10/10 diet. It’s worlds—no, universes—no, even more than that—different, and
I just can’t begin to describe the difference. My health has far surpassed the
condition it has ever been in for as far back as I can remember. I have experienced
improvements in my energy, vitality, abilities, attitude, and appearance that I never even
imagined were possible. I don’t get so worn out at the end of the day anymore, and I
sleep much more restfully. I have a new level of joy in my life, and I experience daily
the plain enjoyment of being alive. I’m feeling less shy and more adventurous socially as
well, so I’m more outgoing.
I am back to the clothing sizes I wore once I reached my adult height at the age of
thirteen, yet am firmer and stronger than I was then. The stretch marks from the
pregnancy of my now eighteen-year-old son have become firmer and less saggy—even
when I’m on my hands and knees. I now get regular and varied exercise and plenty of
recreation. I have greater strength, power, agility, muscle, and overall physical and
mental abilities than ever before.
I recently broke a toe 90 minutes into a terrific Ashtanga yoga practice session,
while I was doing a jump-through on a cement floor and didn’t quite lift enough (as I’m
still a beginner)—oops! I had broken that toe on the other foot before 80/10/10 and had
such a rough time with it back then. This time, even though it took a lot more to break
the toe, it hardly swelled up, so it didn’t really hurt afterward. I am also more in touch
with my body, so the toe healed much more quickly and smoothly than before. Last time
I had to tape the toes together, wear a special shoe to walk, and keep it up for several
weeks, in pain. This time my toe “said” it didn’t want taping. It was not painful, though
it still wanted to be put up—but not as desperately, and it simply wanted mainly sleep
for the first two weeks. I still had to work and walk at the farmer’s markets and in our
garden, resulting in more time on the foot this time, yet it hurt less and healed faster.
At three weeks, my toe was what I would have considered completely healed before,
as I could do everything I did before 80/10/10. That’s less than a third of the time it took
the first time. Since I’m more active now than at any other time in my life, it took a few
more weeks before I could do everything I was doing again—still less than half the time
it took for a less-severe break that occurred before going low-fat raw vegan. My foot
feels as good as new now and doesn’t give me any trouble in any of my activities, even
with the contortions and stresses I put it through in the process. Nice.
Now I Love to Exercise!
The first thing that I noticed when switching from approximately 20% of calories from
fat to 10% or less was that I felt better. My body seemed to get down to deeper repair
work. My legs suddenly felt lighter and stronger, too, like they could jump really high
more easily—and they wanted to, so I did. My husband was simultaneously amused and
When I first started eating low-fat raw vegan, I used to have to get my son or
husband to carry the watermelons I got at the market. Now, not only do I carry them
myself with ease, I can even carry two of them at a time—and they’re each twice as big,
For the first time in my life I actually truly want to exercise. I find myself looking
for excuses to move my body, which is very foreign to me indeed. I had always been one
to find excuses to sit where I was and not exercise. Never before have I experienced
looking forward to my free time in order to exercise! As a result, I’m starting to look
more athletic. People now think I’m a dancer or a gymnast.
I feel so physically adventurous now—loads more than I ever was before. I’m no
daredevil or anything—I’m not skydiving or bungee jumping—but I have become more
athletic, and I’m willing to try new things that require physical activity, purely for the
fun of it or just to see if I can. (It’s not hard to be more willing than I used to be … heck,
I wasn’t at all willing before.) I’m no bodybuilder, although my body’s been building
itself quite nicely. I have been gaining strength, endurance, and muscle weight while
eating this way—once I got rid of most of my excess fat, that is.
I discovered new physical abilities, as well. My balance, coordination, and dexterity
dramatically improved somehow, even at the beginning, before I had been active much at
all. My aerobic exercise had always been limited by my breathing capacity, because I
would lose my breath long before my muscles would get enough of a workout to work
out my heart.
Now, in retrospect and in comparison, it was like I had been running on dirty fuel
when I exercised before. Suddenly, aerobic workouts felt so “clean” and “crisp.” I felt
like I could go forever (but my heart wasn’t used to it, so I took it gradually). I could
breathe really deeply and not have that sick and dirty feeling at the beginning. It was and
still is great! Now when I’m exercising, I feel happy and my body feels happy, which
makes me happier, which gives me more energy and motivation to keep exercising,
which makes me even happier, and so on … I love it! I’ve never felt like this before.
Until I was following Dr. Graham’s program for a while, I never was able to do fullon push ups, even though I used to bodybuild a bit in college and could do hundreds of
bent-knee push-ups in various hand arrangements when doing martial arts in high school.
I discovered that I could do a full push-up after eating this way for a time, and I worked
on them to see how many I could do. I got up to 23 in a row before I moved onto
something else.
I later went back to push-ups, going airborne this time by quickly powering the
pushing so that at the top of my full push-up my hands and toes hop off the ground while
keeping my full body tight and straight! I got up to 15 in a row before I got sidetracked
with pull-ups.
I got a pull-up/chin-up bar for myself and couldn’t even pull myself up enough to
make a movement at first—as had been the case all my life. My husband showed me how
to help myself with a step stool and after a month, I could lift myself halfway up.
Exciting! It wasn’t much longer before one day I pulled myself all the way up—without
the step stool. My chin was all the way above that bar on my own—not just above but
high above, so the bar was at my chest and my chin was above the door! Not long after
that, I became hooked on Ashtanga yoga practice, so I haven’t continued with the chinups much since. I’m having so much fun!
I went surfing for the first time ever about a year into the 80/10/10 lifestyle. I did
pretty darn well, especially for a then thirty-eight-year-old mom who had only ridden a
skateboard a few times (for only a few feet each time), a boogie board once, and a
surfboard not at all. I stood up and rode the very first wave! I was catching little waves
on my own and riding after only about 45 minutes. Cool!
I belonged to a health club for a while about a year into 80/10/10 and was surprised
to find myself, a petite 5′2″, then 98-pound woman, lifting about the same weight or
more than the businessmen there, without effort. I was more surprised to find that some
days I could just keep adding more and more weight, seemingly to no end. I would go
with small increments, so on those days, I usually ended up getting tired from the
number of reps before the weight ever got to be too heavy.
Big guys were always there lifting tons of weight in order to build more muscle and
get more “cut”…and then there’s little old me lifting relatively minute amounts of
weight while my muscles just burst out. I can actually feel my muscles growing during
my “off” time, and they don’t get sore if I eat fruit afterwards like Dr. Graham suggests.
It makes me feel bad for them—if only they would do their exercises properly and
follow Dr. Graham’s program, they’d get much better results for their time and effort.
These days, I no longer go to the health club, as I’ve gotten more into bodyweight
exercises, Ashtanga yoga, aerial fabric, dance, and other things. I also have free weights
at home and at work, if I decide that I want to use them. The machines are fun, but they
aren’t “calling” me right now.
This Is Eeeeeasy …
I have found this way of eating is much, much, much easier, quicker, and more efficient
than any other I’ve tried. Life itself has also become easier overall. Not only do I have
greater peace of mind, increased physical abilities, increased energy, and greater health
and happiness, but my personal needs are so much simpler and easier to meet than
before. I have more time and resources to spend on other things. My life is very full of
activities and responsibilities, so this improvement really helps.
I know that there is no way I could have done all that I have done and all that I am
doing, if I were still eating any other way. Since beginning Dr. Graham’s program, I
started homeschooling my gifted and dyslexic son with self-created custom curricula,
started two corporations with my husband, organized a local branch of our church, was
ordained as one of the clergy, and counseled members of our congregation. I have also
started a homeschooling support group, a raw food support group, and organized regular
raw food potlucks, all with corresponding websites.
I am still doing all of these things now, and I am also writing two books, filming a
video/TV series, working on building up my fitness level, doing occasional work for
long-standing clients from my old consultancy, and of course, continuing to maintain
terrific and loving relationships with both my husband and my son.
Now I find it much easier to go places for the day, or even a few days. I have less
stuff to take with me. I no longer need to walk around with a water bottle on a shoulder
strap so I always have water. I don’t even use it during the day now. I still drink water in
the morning and after intense exercise, but I don’t find the need for it otherwise. My
body regulates its temperature better, so I don’t need to take as many clothing options
with me when going out, either.
Because of my autoimmune condition, I used to get sunburned almost in minutes, at
times even in the shade, whereas now I can stay in the sun without a burn ten times
longer than I used to. My skin is not tan yet, but it’s not pasty anymore. I don’t need to
desperately seek out the shade at the beach, or figure out which hat will stay on and give
me adequate protection. I can actually take walks on the beach without all the cover-up
gear and out of the shade. I only use a sun hat if I’m out in the full sun during midday.
For the first time, I can go to the farmer’s market in the afternoon without a hat and no
My hair is just getting silkier and better looking—without shampoo or conditioner!
Wow! My skin, teeth, and nails have never looked or felt better either. Amazing, because
while I brush and floss my teeth and bathe daily with water, I haven’t used shampoo,
conditioner, face soap, body soap, toothpaste, deodorant, makeup, lotion, sunscreen, bug
repellant, or anything but water on my body (except dish soap on my hands) for over two
and a half years now. Funny—just some scrubbing and water. Who’d have thought?
My skin has never been smoother or more lovely than it is now, and I am virtually
free of the acne that I’ve had ever since puberty. People comment frequently now on how
my skin “glows,” how healthy I look, and how pretty my hair is, wanting to touch it and
do things with it. I haven’t had people wanting to do that with my hair since I was a very
young child.
Eating this way requires little food preparation. All I have to do is put my fruit for
the day in a box, and maybe grab some salad and tomatoes if I don’t have enough at work
already, and go. No need to slice, spread, arrange, layer, bag, or cook, transfer, clean,
etc., as with cooked food. Of course, you can make the 80/10/10rv food fancy enough for
any gourmet undertaking if you want, but you don’t have to go through all that every day
just to eat.
If I don’t have enough with me or get caught out at mealtime, I can go into
practically any grocery store and get fruit. No more shakiness, spiciness, and low blood
sugar if I have to skip or delay a meal. Instead I feel fine and still perform well mentally
and physically until I refuel.
If I know I’m going to have a busy day, I’ll throw some fruit and possibly greens or
celery in a blender with water in the morning before I leave, to take with me to drink
while working. I take a bit of this, watered down, to Ashtanga as my sports drink and
often drink the full smoothie afterwards on my drive back to work. I have a blender at
work too, in case I decide to exercise or have a smoothie or dressing while there, as I am
often at the office for over twelve hours at a time. But in truth, I rarely need or want to
use it at work.
I use less trash, and have more compost with which I can grow more food. At the
end of the day, I have only a salad bowl, occasionally a smoothie container, and a
compost container to wash for the whole day. You can do that with just water, too, if you
do it right away.
The day we got rid of our stove was such a wonderful day. It was such a freeing
experience, and it made the whole kitchen seem so much cleaner somehow. I have no
need for pots, pans, ovens, or other cooking appliances and accessories. In fact, I could
get away without any food-preparation utensils or dishes at all if I wanted to. I don’t
need spices, herbs, medications, vitamins, minerals, or other supplements, either. It’s
just so much simpler and more natural—less expensive too.
Finally, I’m at Peace
Prior to going raw, I had been close to a nervous breakdown as a result of living in a high
state of stress for several years. I knew I needed to de-stress, but I couldn’t see how,
without conditions changing in my life. I couldn’t exercise or do other stress-relieving
activities, because I would just feel like I was getting further behind on things, which
would stress me out even more (counterproductive to say the least).
Now I am far less prone to stress and emotional baggage issues. My emotions are
more even and at a higher level than before. I still attend to things, but I don’t feel
stressed about them. I feel too good to bother, actually. It is not my life that changed, it’s
me. I simply am not as stressed about things anymore. In fact, I have had even more
stressful things happen in my life than before, yet I have felt less stressed during these
It’s kind of hard to describe … I guess the best way is to say that I’m at peace, more
so than ever before—at peace with who I am, who everyone else is, and with what is
going on in my life and around me. From my experience, good health truly is happiness
and peace of mind. I just plain feel good, and it’s hard to get too down when you feel so
darned good all the time, you know? My body tells me it wants to play, and I follow!
Learning to Eat Enough Food
Once I started on Dr. Graham’s program, I started really liking my food again. It is
yummy, and I look forward to it. I don’t put off my meals until I get ravenous anymore. I
used to be so disinterested in and uninspired by my food that I’d wait until I was so
hungry I would just grab whatever was closest and quickest—which was almost never a
healthy food choice. My body just wasn’t interested in the food I was giving it. Now that
I’m providing healthy food for my body, it loves my food, and so do I.
I find it fairly easy to get enough calories now, but it took a while to get to the level
of eating this much. When I started out, I wasn’t eating enough calories, although I felt
fine. I think my body just didn’t want that much food back then, because it wanted to
clear out old stuff. I figured out that I was only eating as many calories as would support
an 80-pound person, but I also realized I had some fat to live off of to help my
Over time, it did work out. Initially, I only lost weight because I had excess fat.
Eventually I lost most of the fat, gained some new muscle (and weight along with it), and
gradually started eating more calories naturally as my body adjusted to things. Currently,
I probably eat more calories than some would think I should and many think I could. It
works out anyway, as I am getting stronger, gaining weight while keeping a healthy
body-fat level, and I am feeling quite well.
Don’t Live a Little … Live a Lot!
If you’re looking to save time and effort in finding what works, look no further. Dr.
Graham’s method works. I used to “live a little” from passing pleasures like nonoptimum food, sacrificing my health and well-being in the process. Now I “live a lot.” I
don’t feel badly about my food choices or feel like I’m giving up anything. I’m choosing
better health and more lasting pleasure, and I am all the more happy as a result. I feel so
much better and see so many results that I am inspired to keep going and don’t want to
go back to cooked food or even high-fat raw. The fleeting satisfaction just isn’t worth the
risk of losing all that I’ve gained.
This raw stuff is amazing. Not raw any way—but this low-fat vegan way—that’s
what’s making the difference! The more I follow all of Dr. Graham’s recommendations
(which incorporate other lifestyle factors besides diet: exercise, rest, pure water, pure air,
sunshine, sleep, recreation, etc.), the easier it is to stay on the 80/10/10 raw vegan diet,
and the better I feel. In fact, eating this way has enabled me to joyfully and naturally
make improvements in many other areas of my life, which I was unable to do before, no
matter how hard I tried.
To sum it all up, I just feel so alive! I want to tell the world! It’s so simple, and it
works so well! I feel like my body is celebrating life on a cellular level—it is happy to
be alive and wants to move to celebrate. I gladly oblige. Happy happy, joy joy, happy
happy, joy!
Reading my praise of Dr. Graham and his program, you may not realize that I am
actually exceedingly cautious and conservative about recommending any products or
services, as I take this responsibility seriously. That said, I highly recommend that you
read and reread this book as many times as necessary, until you are able to try this
program and discover for yourself just how life-enhancing it is. Give it a good chance
though, and follow everything as much as possible. Like any generic guideline, the
program described in this book may need adjusting for your individual situation. The
general method has worked wonders for me. I wholeheartedly recommend a private
consultation with Dr. Graham to clarify or address special health issues, if you need to.
You won’t be sorry.
Janie has a website,, which documents her first six months of
following Dr. Graham’s program and includes a photo history of her as well. She is
currently writing two 80/10/10 raw vegan-related books: Ready for Raw, due out in
Summer 2005, and A Fruit Lover’s Guide to Edible Fruit, to be released later. She also
stars in a video/TV series on similar subjects due to be released in late 2005 or early
Richard (“Ribs”) Friedland, Malibu, California
I became a vegetarian in 1967, because I heard it would heighten my consciousness.
It all made sense to me right away, especially when I realized that the way I had been
eating was contributing to the death of innocent animals, and that I could eat in a way
that might be healthier, raise my awareness, and not harm other creatures that lived on
the earth.
I went through a lot of changes during the first four years on a vegetarian diet. I ate
a lot of junk food in the beginning, as long as it wasn’t meat, fish, or eggs, and that made
it easy for me to stick with the diet. Then I started to switch from regular commercial
sweets to organic health-food sweets and organic goat’s milk ice cream. I tried
macrobiotics in those years, which was interesting but very hard for me to stay on.
Against the advice of three doctors who said they would put their reputation on the
line that I couldn’t survive for more than 18 months, I became a fruitarian in 1971 for a
lot of the same reasons that I became a vegetarian. I ate only raw fruit, which didn’t
include nuts or seeds or dried, frozen, of dehydrated fruit. I followed this diet very
strictly for eight years.
I didn’t know anything about the fat content of the avocados and olives I picked and
ate raw from the trees. (Yes, I did actually like the taste of one particular type of olive. If
I allowed the smooth green ones to ripen on the tree until they were black and shriveled,
I enjoyed their taste and ate quite a few at a time). I also had never heard of food
combining, so I generally mixed anything that was available on a given day. For
example, I might eat avocados, dates, tomatoes, and citrus within a few hours of each
other, although I didn’t do that often.
I read a few books about fruitarianism, like Arnold Ehret’s Mucusless-Diet Healing
System, and then I waited to see if I would have experiences like they described in the
book: almost unlimited energy, and incredible strength and endurance. I did not get the
results I was hoping for after eight years. I still had sinus problems, along with gas and
For the next couple years, I ate raw foods, with mostly fruit. I went to see a lot of
alternative doctors, including ayurvedic practitioners and others in the next few years. I
had a lot of tests and a lot of dental work done. A number of these alternative and
ayurvedic doctors suggested very strongly that animal products would be beneficial for
me, as well as spicier foods, because I was too yin or cold, and I needed yang, heating
I did try chicken, fish, and eggs, with cayenne pepper and very little fruit, for about
six months in the winter of 1985. I didn’t feel much worse when I ate those foods, but I
really didn’t like the idea of consuming innocent animals, and I didn’t feel stronger and
healthier like all the doctors said I would. So I started eating sweet fruits again.
In 1992 I met a Natural Hygienist who explained to me about food combining. I
bought Dr. Shelton’s book and started eating raw fruits and vegetables at certain times in
certain combinations, as described in his book.
I did this for about eight years until one night after eating some cherimoyas and
capotes I woke up after about two hours of sleep and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I was
very uncomfortable the whole night, trying to relax, massaging myself, and attempting to
stretch. Finally, I did an enema at around 4 am and felt a little better. I couldn’t figure
out what had caused this, and I thought it might be a fluke. Well, the same thing
happened the next night. That was much more difficult, because I only got an hour of
sleep both nights, and I was exhausted. It was hard to think and figure out what to do
I was eating all raw fruits and vegetables in combination, which included daily nuts,
seeds, and avocados, and I was eating a late last meal of sweet fruit around 10 pm, which
was pretty close to when I went to sleep. The main reason I ate that late was that I found
it impossible to sleep if I didn’t. So I figured I would eat some raw sweet fruit, which
was my favorite food. I didn’t sleep for four nights straight, and on the fourth night I
started to panic. I called the paramedics and told them I might be having a heart attack. I
couldn’t tell what was going on. They took me to St. John’s hospital, where I was tested
for hours. Doctors there finally told me that my heart and cholesterol were perfect. The
only problem they could find in all their extensive testing was that I had a B12
I left St. John’s in the morning and went to the Westside Alternative Center, which
did a lot more very expensive testing. The tests cost me as much as the hospital bills
from St. John’s, which came to a few thousand dollars. After about a week, I received the
results from the tests from the alternative clinic, and they said I had a B12/folic acid
deficiency. I took B 12 injections in my butt for a few days, and then they put me on folic
acid supplements.
I started asking everyone I knew for help and information, because I still didn’t
know what had caused my inability to sleep. I also wasn’t sure what I should be eating,
because I had been eating the same way for 20 years straight. I knew a 30-year raw food
chiropractor who told me not to eat any sweet fruits and to get my B12 from Standard
Process Labs. I felt a lot better for a while. That chiropractor died in a bicycle accident,
and I went back to eating sweet fruit.
I tried different cleanses, including the Arise and Shine one-month cleanse, which I
followed to the letter. I got really weak during the final week of the cleanse, where you
don’t eat any food. I called the company to ask about it, and they thought it was some
type of parasite like candida. I went to a doctor, who said that I could send a stool sample
to the Great Smokies laboratory if I wanted to know for sure whether I had candida. The
test results showed that I had two strains of candida at the highest level. All my
symptoms made sense to the doctor, because she had recovered from candida and had
written a book about it.
They say with candida that fruit feeds it, and I ate a lot of fruit. I went on a long,
expensive candida cleanse for six months and felt pretty lousy the whole time. I ate
nothing sweet for six months, not even carrots or lemons, and I had to rotate my foods
every four days. I took a lot of supplements, including Super Garlic, Primal Defense,
some expensive flora from England, and many others.
I had a really difficult time during those six months. I found it hard to get any work
done, because all my symptoms had gotten more extreme. I was so uncomfortable. I
stayed with it for the full six months and then took another stool test, which showed that
I still had candida albicans at the highest level. The doctor suggested taking prescription
drugs, and I started back on a diet with sweet fruits.
I tried numerous other diets, supplements, and cleanses during the next few years,
until I heard Doug Graham and Rozi Gruben speak at an event called Raw Passion. Rozi
talked about what happens to the blood when we eat certain foods. Doug said that it isn’t
the sugar in fruits, but rather the fat that people with candida consume that inhibits the
body’s ability to get the sugar out of the blood.
I didn’t know whether what they were saying was absolutely what was happening
with me, but I knew I liked both of them immediately. They seemed to have a lot of
conviction about what they were saying, and they definitely had done extensive research
and discovered a lot of information.
I started to reflect on my situation. No one, out of the many, many doctors I had
consulted with over the years had helped me make any health improvements. I thought I
was on the best diet I could think of, but I wasn’t feeling well. These two people looked
very healthy. It seemed obvious they had extensive knowledge about health and had
already worked with people in a similar situation to mine, with improvements. If I didn’t
like the way it was working, I could always go back to the way I was eating now. I didn’t
have anything to lose by cutting out fats except my illness. There wasn’t really much of a
decision left to make.
I started eliminating fat from my diet that very day, and I began experiencing some
very heavy elimination. I didn’t eat any overt fats for six months, because I didn’t know
about 80/10/10, and I thought the idea was to eat as little fat as possible, so I did. This
meant no avocado, olives, or durian, and of course no nuts or seeds.
Also, I didn’t know about Doug’s VegSource board, so I went back to eating a raw
diet with fat in it. The elimination slowed way down. I ate that way for the next six
months, even though I felt terrible again, until I saw Doug speak at the Living Light
House in Santa Monica. I got to ask him some questions, which he was very willing to
answer, and I cut the fat again. Except this time I ate an 811 diet, which meant that I ate
a little fat once in a while.
I had so many wonderful improvements, but I still didn’t have the full health
picture. So I saved up a little cash and had a private consultation with Dr. Graham.
During the consultation, we sat down face to face within two feet of each other. This was
really helpful to me, because I got a sense of what he was all about. I found a genuine,
caring individual who was absolutely interested in improving my health. It was hard to
imagine what he would come up with to help me, because I was following the diet to a T.
At the time, I thought that was what it was all about.
What I didn’t realize, is that diet is only one part of a healthy lifestyle, and that
you’re only as strong as your weakest link. Those were only words to me at the time, but
after he found an aspect of my life that needed some work and I worked on it, my health
improved dramatically. That means I felt better. What greater gift could anyone give to
me? I felt more energy, and I enjoyed living more. That’s the best gift you can get!
One of the topics we covered in the consultation was Doug’s sports camp, called
Health and Fitness Week. He thought it was important for me to attend, and he asked me
what he could do to make it possible. I didn’t see how I could ever work it out at the
time, because I had just spent all my extra money on this consultation, and I had so little
time. But I took a risk, because it seemed like I needed so much to happen. I told him all
the conditions it would take to make it possible for me to come, and he helped me work
it all out! I was just amazed by the honesty, sincerity, knowledge, and dedication of this
person standing right in front of me, along with his sincere desire to help me with my
personal health issues.
I attended the sports camp, and it was the best thing I could have done. It was so
helpful and beneficial that I ended up signing up for the following year’s sports camp
before I left. This was the jump-start I needed to get headed down the road to true health.
If you can figure out any way to make the next camp, I recommend that you do it,
whatever it takes!
I’ve been on the 80/10/10 diet for a year now and have had the most remarkable
success with it! I just want to share this with people. When you start to feel really good
after not feeling so good for a long time, you want to let other people know that they can
feel better, too.
People sometimes ask me what I typically eat in a day, so I will share it with you. I
usually eat three meals a day, once in a while only two. I normally eat my breakfast at
around 10 a.m. Yesterday (April 2005), I ate 12 ounces of blueberries, 8 ounces of
raspberries, 8 ounces of boysenberries, and about 4 green baskets of strawberries. I ate
lunch at 2:30 p.m., which consisted of 6 cherimoyas and 4 capotes. I ate supper at 7:30
p.m.—about 8 pickling cucumbers, 1½ heads of red butter lettuce, about 5 lbs. of
tomatoes, and a couple of celery stalks.
Today as I write, it’s 10:30 a.m. After I do my last set of 100 stomach crunches and
maybe some push-ups, I will eat breakfast, which will be 12 ounces of blueberries and
about 4 or 5 baskets of strawberries. If I’m still hungry, I’ll eat a papaya. For lunch I will
eat at least 4 or 5 more cherimoyas, because I already felt them and they are perfectly
ripe! I’ll also eat some capotes and 2 or 3 mangos. I’ll probably have a similar supper,
but I might have some avocado if it ripens up or some sugar snap peas, depending on
how I feel at suppertime and what exercise I’ve done today.
The first benefit I noticed from 80/10/10 was that I didn’t feel spacey or bloated
when I ate sweet fruit. That was a great relief to me, because I loved to eat sweet fruits,
but getting bloated and spacey made it very difficult to work, exercise, or focus on
projects. The next amazing benefit I experienced was that I started to be able to exercise
without all the pain and discomfort that had made it next to impossible for me to
exercise more than one day a week. The pain has improved to the point now that I can
exercise every day, which is wonderful, because I get a lot of very good benefits from
exercising. The third improvement was that I didn’t need to eat late at night in order to
fall asleep. This helped me not to wake up as groggy and out of it in the morning. Now I
can get going earlier and start doing things I need to do, like work or exercise or take
care of the kids. I’ve had other side benefits, like my body getting more toned and
looking better. Also, being stronger overall is nice, too.
It’s hard to explain how much better my life is now as compared to the way it was
before I was following 811. It’s like I’m a new person who is not horribly sick with
candida and whatever other problems I might have had. Not only has my life improved
tremendously, but I continue to get better daily. This is fantastic beyond anything I could
have imagined the day I first heard Doug and Rozi speak about food during the Raw
Passion event.
Not only have these two people dedicated their lives to sharing health with as many
people as possible, but they have also identified some of the most important keys to
achieving and maintaining ideal health.
If anyone is interested in health, they should start following the 811 way of life. I
can’t imagine anything that a person could possibly do that would be anywhere near as
important—or as helpful. 811 is a healthy way to live life, and there’s so much more to it
than just diet. Food is only one part of the whole picture of health.
One of the things that really impressed me about the 811 lifestyle is that emotional
stability is considered just as important as diet or any other factor of healthful living.
Emotional work has been the main focus of my life for the last 35 years. When I heard
Rozi explain that we need to feel all our feelings no matter what they are, I realized that
she understood feelings in the same way I did, and I consider feelings to be what I know
most about in the world.
So there you have it: Doug and Rozi have developed a system of living that
incorporates all of the important factors to achieve optimal health for human beings on
this planet. I plan on following this lifestyle and learning more and more about myself
and about health every day. I wish everyone who reads my story the best of luck on their
path to better health.
Laurie Masters, San Jose, California
During my first five or so years of eating a substantially raw diet, I blew through at
least one 32-ounce bottle of flax oil each month. I ate an avocado most every day and
night, and I ate plenty of prepared nut and seed dishes. For about a year, I brought an
almond/raisin torte (with my special lemon-date-spearmint frosting) to every raw
Like my raw friends, I was eating a ton of fat and didn’t know it. I thought I was
eating a fantastically healthful diet. I ate dishes like raw granola, oat groats blended with
soaked almonds, or bananas and almond butter for breakfast. These probably averaged
250 fat calories. Lunch was usually a salad with one avocado (and that addictive
lemon/oil/Bragg/garlic dressing). Between my lunch and dinner salads, I would down ¼
cup of flax oil each and every day … that’s 480 calories of pure fat right there! I often
ate a second avocado at dinner, the two of them probably totaling about 450 fat calories.
The nut/seed concoctions I made for dinner (mock tuna, salmon nori, etc.), contributed
another 400 calories of fat. That’s 1,580 calories of overt fat in my day. My total calories
probably ran about 2,000 per day—which meant that I was eating about 79% fat!
My “healthy” eating was somewhat legendary within my own little world.
Goodness! The salads I would concoct in the lunchroom at my Silicon Valley offices …
It was the company joke. On the way out to local restaurants for lunch each day, the
analysts I worked with would take a field trip past the lunchroom to see what
“shrubbery” Laurie was eating today! They called my salad bowl “the trough.” At 88
pounds and five feet tall (I’ve been that size since I was 14; it has nothing to do with raw
food), I could pound down a lot of salad. Or at least it looked that way to mainstream
I spent an ungodly amount of time in the kitchen each day, even buying a second
food processor, blender, and juicer to keep in my office so that I could now also whip up
mock tuna and other such concoctions for lunch if I wanted … which did nothing for my
caloronutrient ratio, let me tell you!
I enjoyed my food (who wouldn’t, with all that fat and salt), and I enjoyed the
attention I received (“Where is a tiny person like you putting all that FOOD!?”). But I
had one problem: my longstanding fatigue and lifelong recurring bronchial infections
were NOT getting any better than they were when I ate cooked food. It was maddening!
As a child, I recall having a cold at least once every two months. Without fail, I’d
get swollen glands a day or two before the full-on bronchial affront would begin. Next,
I’d get a croupy cough, a sore throat, and sometimes earaches. I’d always hope that the
cold would stay in my head this time, but darned if it didn’t “go down to my lungs”
every single time. These “colds” never lasted less than 8 or 10 days.
I lived on antibiotics. Mom would have us stop them early when our symptoms
went away, so we could “save” some antibiotics. That way, we would have some on hand
and wouldn’t have to wait for a doctor’s appointment the next time. At the slightest
indication of swollen glands, I’d pop the pills … “to nip it in the bud,” you know? We
were smart consumers!
It’s a wonder I got through school at all. I was often absent a full week of school in
a month. I’d do my schoolwork from home, my bedroom desk stocked with antibiotics,
throat lozenges, vitamin C, and expectorant cough syrup. I spent a good portion of each
winter “under the vaporizer,” as we called it. The bedroom walls and windows would be
wet with condensation from the mentholated vaporizer steam mom used to try to keep
me breathing.
Somehow, though, I managed never to manifest a diagnosable disease … mainly
just those incessant chest colds. They continued unabated through my young adult life.
Chronically underslept and overstressed, I worked ridiculously long hours at my college
studies and at my jobs, living on adrenaline and working right through my ongoing
illnesses. I’d come to work with no voice. I’d take work home and work from bed. I’m
quite sure I exhausted my body to a devastating degree.
By 1990, newly married and still working crazy hours as operations manager at a
small electronics company, I was diagnosed with Epstein-Barre virus. Regularly sick,
and dragging myself to work each day, I continued the downward spiral of ignoring my
body and pushing through the colds, flus, episodes of strep throat and bronchitis, and
occasional cases of pneumonia. I remember nearly falling asleep on the road driving
home from work just about every day that summer. Sometimes I’d pull over and nap for
awhile, but mostly I’d talk or sing or scream out loud, slap my own face, and blast the
music while I drove, trying to push my exhausted body another 20 minutes until I could
get home.
In the eighties I worked for a wealthy stockbroker who took us on incentive bonus
trips to places like New Orleans, where we would eat at five-star restaurants night after
night. I learned to love rich, gourmet foods and ate more than my share of prime rib and
creamy risotto. After nine years of working for this broker and her husband, I could no
longer afford my own taste in food.
Always interested in what I believed to be health and nutrition, however, I tended
more toward grilled vegetables and fish, rarely if ever eating fast food. I pored over
magazines for “healthy” recipes. At home I would broil oil-coated vegetables and pour
them over corkscrew pasta topped with pine nuts and herbs, sure that I was eating a
supremely healthful meal.
Then at age 34 (1997), I learned about raw foods from Pam Masters, a light-filled
soul who taught hundreds of people in the San Francisco Bay Area to eat raw food and
heal their bodies as she had done herself. Pam shared with us dozens of hand-written
recipes that she had learned to make at Hippocrates Health Institute years before. Wow!
This rich, salty, fatty “health food” was right up my alley! I loved what I was learning,
and my taste buds loved it even more.
Yet it never added up: I ate all this healthy food but still had endless severe head
colds. Instead of getting better, it seemed as if my colds were coming more frequently
and were increasingly more virulent. They never lasted less than three weeks, usually
dragging on a month or more at a time. I would lose my voice completely, every time. I
would cough violently. I would still work right through it all. In the late 1990s, it seemed
I spent more of the year with a cold than I spent feeling good.
Finally one day in total desperation, I phoned Doug Graham in Florida. I still have
the audiotape of that phone conversation. We were friends by then, so he knew of my
history of chest colds … but I had never asked him for help, so he hadn’t laid it on the
line to me. Now I was asking, and I was in tears. First, he asked me to list for him what I
ate on an average day. He listened patiently, then he told me what he tells nearly every
raw fooders who consults with him: “Laurie, you’re eating way too much fat and not
nearly enough fruit.”
Never having had a weight problem, I had no concept of how many calories or how
much fat was in the foods I ate. I didn’t believe that my diet could be as full of fat as he
claimed, but I started investigating. Over the past half-dozen years, I have delved deeply
into caloronutrient calculations, verifying for myself the tremendous amounts of fat that
raw fooders are eating. I learned that nuts and seeds average about 75% fat. (Who was
the rocket scientist who told us these were protein foods?) This kind of information gave
me motivation to make some serious changes!
Now, I have learned to eat pretty darned close to an 80/10/10 diet (cooked and raw,
not the rave version). A lot of people fall over when they hear the quantity of fruit I eat
each day. Together with my partner, Tim Trader, I buy bananas by the case—we go
through about 250 a week. We frequent farmer’s markets, and our kitchen counter is a
beautiful cornucopia of dozens and dozens of colorful fresh fruits at all times. I start
every day with a 12-banana smoothie to which I add about a pound of one or two other
types of fruit: pears, strawberries, mangos, stone fruits … whatever catches my eye.
(Yes, all that plus a couple cups of distilled water does fit into one Vita-Mix container; it
makes nearly three quarts.) Or I’ll eat a banana/celery smoothie, sometimes adding
parsley or kale or cilantro or other greens to it. Most days I continue eating fruit in the
afternoon (grapes, mangos, watermelon, nectarines, etc.) and then eat a salad for dinner,
usually with cooked vegetables as well. I am working on incorporating more whole foods
and fewer smoothies … but for now this is what works for me.
My fat consumption has dwindled dramatically. These days when I eat at home, I
eat about 2 avocados a week and virtually no nuts or seeds, except some ground flax on
my salads. I am just not attracted to heavy foods anymore. My salad dressing is often a
Mexican salsa, or sometimes just fresh-squeezed orange juice or blended fruit. About
once a month I blend fruit and nuts for dressing (six strawberries, one orange, and eight
mac nuts, for example, or 2 oranges and 2 tablespoons of tahini). Rarely, I still have a
salad with ½ tablespoon of olive oil, but a small bottle of oil these days would last me
Here is a list of what I actually ate one day in July of 2004:
9 bananas (900 grams/32 ounces)
1 apple (200 grams/7 ounces)
4 khadrawy dates
2 navel oranges (200 grams/7 ounces)
16 strawberries (250 grams/9 ounces)
1 nectarine (120 grams/4.2 ounces)
3 figs (100 grams/3.5 ounces)
10 cherries (60 grams/2 ounces)
3 small tomatoes (250 grams, 8.5 ounces)
½ large head of lettuce (225 grams/9 ounces)
a little cabbage (100 grams/3.5 ounces)
a few sugar snap peas (25 grams/1 ounce)
½ ear of white corn (35 grams/1.25 ounces)
lemon juice
½ tablespoon olive oil
The verdict? 1,740 calories, 87% carbs, 6% protein, 7% fat. Not bad!
At potlucks and other events (maybe six times per year), I still usually eat at least a
small portion of those gut-bomb combinations I used to consume daily. I still enjoy the
taste of the high-fat dishes, but they’re almost always far too heavy and salty for me
anymore—which is no small statement, as salt for me has been a lifetime addiction!
Life is getting better and better. Slowly but surely I am learning to move this body.
For decades, I used to think to myself with resignation that I would never feel good
enough to exercise in this lifetime. I do have a lifetime of adrenal exhaustion to undo …
so it’s not happening as quickly as I’d like. But the fact that I get motivated to move at
all is an unforeseen miracle.
I get lots and lots of sunshine. My skin never used to tan, but now it’s brown all
summer long. I know that the sun is nature’s disinfectant and that the sun nourishes me.
The toxins that cause skin cancer live inside of acidic bodies filled with fat, and the sun
merely draws the poisons to the surface, like a poultice … but research shows that the
sun does not cause cancer in people who eat a low-fat diet. Don’t let anyone tell you that
it does.
My colds are coming far less often now. In fact, the last one was two years ago. This
may not sound like a big thing, but for me it’s a miracle—and a direct result of my lowfat diet. Naturally, I always thought of myself as “perfectly healthy, except for these
colds.” But the truth is, I spent a great deal of my life in misery, and I missed out on lots
of life.
One more thing: since I’ve been raw, I keep nothing medicinal or supplemental in
my house, period. Except for a couple of daily vitamins I took as a kid, a bottle or two of
Shaklee vitamins in my twenties, and the enzyme tablets I bought in my first year of
eating raw foods, I pretty much haven’t touched herbs, algaes, minerals, powdered
greens, or other such refined, dehydrated, encapsulated nonfood items of any kind.
Thankfully, that’s one part of the high-fat raw regimen I managed to steer clear of!
If I hadn’t learned about the low-fat (raw) vegan diet, I’m sure that my forties
would have been a downward spiral of evermore frequent, ever-worsening chronic
illness. Instead, I have a new life to look forward to. For me, whole-food 80/10/10 is the
way to eat as Nature intended … it’s far easier, lighter, and healthier than all those fatty,
salty, dehydrated, taste bud-pleasing “transitional” foods I began this journey with.
I am deeply grateful to Doug (and Rozi Gruben and Tim Trader) for helping me
learn how to eat high-fruit raw! Finally, after a lifetime of increasingly debilitating chest
colds that lasted a minimum of three weeks at a time and came three to six times a year,
I am feeling better all the time…and even exercising! Yes!! All is, most certainly, well!
Lisa Oborne, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
As a child, I spent numerous days in the hospital and often missed school due to
asthma and allergies, among other maladies. In an average year, I would miss 70 days of
school. At age 12, a severe asthma attack put me in the hospital for more than a week,
where I had to be in an oxygen tent. Even so, I turned blue many times.
After leaving the hospital, I instinctively began changing my eating habits and I
became a vegetarian. In my childhood years, cheese, eggs, and fish were the only
“meats” I ate. This change in diet helped, and my health began to improve. I believed I
was doing the best I could for my health.
At age 24, I was in a major car accident. With no feeling in my body from the neck
down, I was told by my doctor that I would be in a wheelchair, probably for the rest of
my life. After he left the room, something amazing happened: an electrical current came
from within, starting in my head and working its way down to my toes. I immediately sat
up and walked out of the hospital. This was the turning point in my life. I knew that my
body was capable of amazing things, although I did not know how or why. With new
respect, I began to listen to my body’s messages.
Wanting to learn more about my body’s functions, and sensing that I needed to trust
more fully in its capabilities, I began reading widely in the area of natural health. My
curiosity only grew the more I learned. I have since taken many classes/courses in
Natural Hygiene, including those offered by Dr. Doug Graham and Dr. Robert Sniadach.
More than four years ago, after attempting to resolve some of my lingering health
problems, I went to a naturopath, who informed me that I had very weak kidneys and was
a Type 2 diabetic. I could not understand. I had changed my diet, I had been vegan for
over 12 years at this time, and tried to live a simple life … what more could I do? I did
notice that I did not have a lot of energy, and although I slept nine to ten hours a night, I
still woke up tired. I decided I needed to take action.
On December 1, 2000, I began a 30-day juice diet. It was not nearly as difficult as I
thought it would be. Upon completion of the 30 days, my kidneys had rebuilt themselves
and the signs of diabetes were gone, as well as 30 pounds. That was an added bonus.
Then I was faced with the question of what to do next. During my studies, I had read a lot
of books by Dr. Shelton, and I asked myself if the raw diet was for me. The response was
a resounding “YES!”
I tried the raw diet, beginning very simply. Not yet understanding the variety of
ways that people eat raw, I ate a very low-fruit diet for more than 12 months, with a lot
of greens and nuts & seeds. After about six months, the initial energy I received from
this new diet started to dwindle, and I was feeling very weak. I promised myself I would
do this for 12 months, so I continued, and unfortunately, my health did not improve at
all. Everyone I saw asked me what was wrong with me. I looked very thin and my skin
tone was grey. I had become a skinny fat person. I had dropped down to 116 lbs., but
what I did not know was that my body fat was over 35%. My muscle tone was terrible,
and I did not have the energy to exercise. My asthma was getting worse, so even if I
wanted to exercise I could not.
One day, my husband was searching the Internet and discovered Dr. Doug Graham’s
website. I signed up to attend Healthful Living International’s first symposium in 2002. I
tried to do Dr. D.’s diet based on what was on the Web, immediately increasing my fruit
consumption and dropping the quantity of nuts and seeds in my diet. Although my
energy started to pick up, my asthma symptoms were still there.
I did not realize how much in my life would change after attending the symposium.
I spoke one-on-one with Dr. D. and received a lot of fantastic advice. I immediately
started putting his advice into play and saw changes very quickly. Now my energy really
started picking up. I got more productive sleep at night, and my skin tone started to
It took until June of the following year for my asthma symptoms to be reduced to
the point that I no longer needed my meds, which I had been on for over 30 years. I
finally had the energy to begin exercising, and my lungs were now able to handle the
extra load.
I began going to a gym and started bodybuilding. Still holding over 30% body fat, I
could not believe the strength I had … it was incredible! Needless to say, my progress
was huge in a very short period of time. I put on 35 lbs. of muscle in less than one year
and reduced my body fat by more than 10%.
When I started on the 80/10/10 diet 12 months ago, my recovery time was
approximately 2 weeks per body part. The weight that I am lifting now has increased
substantially, a minimum of 300% on any body part. My recovery time is now
approximately three to five days per body part without overtraining.
My plans now are to enter either a bodybuilding contest or a strongwoman
competition. I want to have one more year of training before entering to improve my
strength and muscle density. This is somewhat amazing, coming from a person who,
until I met Dr. D., was not able to do a n y exercise because of my illnesses and
My exercise regimen now consists of weight training, martial arts, kickboxing,
yoga, jogging with my dogs, and running at dog agility classes. Without Dr. D., I would
never have been able to do any form of exercise, let alone progressed to the level of
amateur competition. Thank you, Dr. D.
Ireland Lawrence, Mission Viejo, California
At 22 years of age, I was up to 300 pounds and had to work hard to maintain that
weight, speed walking six to nine miles a day and eating no more than 1,500 calories a
day. I also had my hair falling out in clumps, no menstruation, acne, and lethargy. In
addition, I had autism, hyper dyslexia, and attention deficit disorder. I had to rehearse
my speech for hours to make a simple phone call and spontaneous speech was not
something I could do. I had difficulty in school and stressed out over writing, often
spending several hours on writing just one single paragraph.
For my weight and hair loss, I went to doctors who told me to lose weight by
exercising and going on a diet. I cut my calories down to 500 calories a day for a few
months and lost a half pound a week. But I found it an impractical lifestyle, as I felt
depressed and even more lethargic. I was desperate for a useful solution.
I started by going to the health-food store and reading every book they carried on
diet. I found a short book on raw foods. It made sense to me, and the next day I began the
diet. I had been a vegetarian for about six years prior, but raw foods was much easier. At
the time, I understood raw foods to be fruits and vegetables and greens that were not
cooked. I went to the market and bought all the different fruits, celery, and coconuts. I
put them all in a bin in the refrigerator and ate whenever I was hungry.
I lost five pounds the first day and twenty pounds the first month. I found that
counting calories and undereating no longer worked; for the more I ate raw foods, the
louder my body screamed when I was going against it. Also, I could feel my body
becoming worn out and exhausted. I stopped exercising and rested, taking sunbaths and
slow walks during the day and attending class for five hours at night. I did this for about
six months, at the end of which I lost about 80 pounds, had regular periods, and no more
acne. Then I transferred to a new university and led a stressful lifestyle studying until
late at night, living in a building full of mold and lead paint, and drinking lots of orange
juice, which I later learned was pasteurized.
The health improvements I noticed dwindled and I went to a doctor. I was diagnosed
with hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, and polycystic ovarian
syndrome, which included cysts all over my ovaries and no ovulation. These were all
conditions I had prior to the raw foods diet, but they had been undiagnosed. The doctor
recommended a low-carbohydrate diet. I decided to try a vegetarian version of it and did
not feel much better. I stayed on this for two years. I often thought about how great I felt
on raw foods when I first tried it and wondered why that process stopped.
Eventually, more raw food books came out, and I realized that the “fresh-squeezed”
orange juice I had been drinking was pasteurized and may have adversely impacted my
health, along with the stress I was under. I decided to try raw foods again. The first
several months I ate raw foods as before—fruits, vegetables, and greens. I noticed even
more health improvements: I menstruated regularly, after three months the cysts on my
ovaries were gone, I began to ovulate, I had no clinical evidence of insulin resistance,
and after a year, my thyroid was healthy and I lost five pounds a month, getting down to
150 pounds. Reading and writing were no longer difficult, and I could speak without
After I had spent about six months back into raw foods, the diet started to pick up in
popularity in my area. There was a family that came to town and gave a talk and dinner
on raw foods. They included nuts and seeds (which I previously did not include as raw
foods) and gave recipes for foods like raw veggie burgers, raw un-chocolate cake, and
raw ice cream made with spices, salt, honey, flavoring extracts, frozen fruits, and nut
milks. They introduced me to the “eat anything as long as it is raw” diet. Soon, I added
all these items to my diet. I then hit a plateau where for about two years, I noticed no
health improvements, although my health did not deteriorate either.
I started investigating what changes I could make to again experience health
improvements. I began practicing Ashtanga yoga daily and noticed improvements in
strength and vigor. Also, I did some consultations with some of the raw foodists whose
books I had read. One told me that my liver was severely damaged from all the weight I
lost and that I needed to do 12 liver flushes with 1 cup of olive oil and lemon juice. I did
them but did not notice a difference.
Another told me that fruit was causing my body to be taken over by fungus, so I cut
out all sweet fruit. I ate avocados—up to 5 a day—as well as greens, sea weeds, and
vegetables. I did that for one month, at which point I began to have bruises all over my
body. I added low-sweet fruits for two months and did not get any more bruises but did
not feel better either.
Then I went back to the “eat anything as long as it is raw” diet. Soon after, I injured
my back in yoga. I kept going to practice but made modifications. After a month, my
back still had not healed. I added MSM, thinking it was the missing link that would heal
my back. I had what I thought was more energy and slept five hours a night, but I also
had heart palpitations, and my back stayed the same.
Eventually, I cut out the MSM and experienced mononucleosis. I think taking the
MSM led to excess stimulation, resulting in a lack of sleep and subsequent weakened
immune system; mono was one of the consequences. I stopped taking the MSM and was
so lethargic for months that walking upstairs was a big event. I stopped practicing yoga
and I eventually recovered—both from the back injury and mono.
I still did not feel right though. So I added raw dairy mainly in the form of raw goat
milk cheese, thinking I had some sort of protein deficiency. I became addicted to it and
ate it every day for two months. I felt worse at this point but did not realize it. Then I
went camping for a month.
One morning, some wild turkeys were outside my tent eating breakfast. I opened my
tent and said, “Good morning turkeys!” They did not answer. They just ignored me. It
occurred to me that I am not here for their purposes, and they are not here for mine. I
thought about goats and the goat cheese I was eating and decided not to eat it any more. I
went two days without eating it. I was craving it though, so I had some. I watched my
mood change as anger and hatred engulfed my body. I realized the impact eating the goat
cheese had. After that, I made a commitment not to eat it anymore. It took several weeks
until I no longer thought about it.
I started to read the VegSource website where Dr. Graham has a discussion board. I
had lurked there before. I even tried eating lots of fruit and low fat, but I felt groggy and
addicted to fruit when I did that. But this time I kept lurking and reading. Eventually, I
read a post where Dr. Graham talked about chasing your fruits with greens. Then I
realized a change I could make—eating more greens. Until then, my greens consisted of
the salad I ate each week and the occasional glass of green juice. But I was not eating
green leafy vegetables regularly. Also, I thought greens had to be kale, collards,
dandelion—dark greens—otherwise they were not nutritious; but I did not care for the
taste of them.
I gave Dr. Graham’s 80/10/10 raw vegan diet a try. I began eating fruit and
following it with mild greens like celery or romaine. I started with a leaf or stick and
worked up to two bunches of celery and/or two heads of romaine each day, along with a
very large quantity (at least a dozen) of one or two types of fruit each day. Also, I cut out
all supplements, spices, oils, frozen fruit, juices, salt, dehydrated foods, raw dairy,
honey, green powders, and seaweeds. I started losing weight again. I began craving
movement again and took up running and went back to practicing yoga. Most days I now
average two hours of yoga, one hour of pranayama, 1 hour of running, and 25 to 50
I also started to let go of bottled-up emotions. Now, they just flow out. I think that
when I was eating heavier raw foods and spices and juices, there were a lot of emotions
like anger and hurt that were right at the surface, but they kept getting shoved down with
the foods I was eating. Now there is a channel opened for them to freely float out.
I no longer overeat or binge on foods. I am in touch with my body and feel full and
know what my body needs. For example, shortly after I began running, I pulled a muscle
in my back on the right side. I could not roll over on that side. I knew that if I rested, it
would heal. I did that and after two days, it was back to normal. There was a time when I
would have ignored my body and gone running anyway, but my body speaks so loudly
now, it is hard to go against it and effortless to work with it.
I have been following Dr. Graham’s 80/10/10 raw vegan lifestyle guidelines for four
months now and have noticed more improvements in those four months than in four
years on the “eat anything as long as it is raw” diet. The simplicity of the raw food diet is
what was first attractive. After reading a simple book on raw foods, I instinctively
followed a plan similar to the 80/10/10 raw vegan diet. It is only when I read more books
and listened to others that I veered from what I knew worked for me and stopped doing
what I knew was useful to me.
I have learned that if given the right conditions, my body will let me know what it
needs and the key is to go with what I know works and tune out all the chatter—both my
own and that of others. Dr. Graham is the only example I have come across in the raw
food movement of what works for the long term.
Roen Horn, Sacramento, California
Looking back, I definitely could have avoided a lot of troubles if I had known about
the 80/10/10 diet at the start of my raw journey. At age 15, I became convinced by my
brother and also Internet sites I visited, that fruitarianism was the ultimate ideal, because
it avoided “killing the plant.” I had already advanced through the stages of vegetarianism
and veganism, which had caused me to lose some weight. After becoming a fruitarian, I
immediately started to lose more weight, and I was already very thin!
My mother was concerned and sent me to get a checkup. From that point on,
because of my low weight (111 lbs. at 6′1″ tall), the doctor’s scary threats of
antipsychotic drugs and hospitalization lingered over me. I was scheduled for weekly
checkups to ensure that I gained weight—or else!
Believe it or not, my psychologist told me that I was mentally ill/obsessive
compulsive, because I wouldn’t eat hot dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, donuts, etc. like
“normal kids.” He also ignorantly claimed that no one eating only nuts, seeds, fruits and
vegetables could possibly sustain his life, and that I would die from malnutrition if I
persisted! Furthermore, he said that if I would not take his word for it, I was
With the pressure from both the doctors and my mother, I gave up my raw fruitarian
diet. I began eating a cooked diet that included a lot of grain dishes, such as spaghetti,
couscous, and rice, but I insisted on taking my oatmeal raw. This heavy-grain diet caused
me to be the most constipated I’ve been in my entire life, and it exacerbated my acne
problem. It did, however, increase my weight from 111 to 125 lbs.
Fed up with the loss of control over my diet, I decided that I would once again eat
only raw fruits, vegetable fruits, nuts, and seeds. Doing so, I felt better, but again I began
losing weight. So I started to trick my mom and the doctors with weights on my ankles
and in my pants. Admittedly, I wasn’t concerned that this change caused my weight to
drop to 107 lbs., because I felt great, was strong, and my blood tests came out fine. In
fact, fruitarians were telling me that I had to lose weight to “detox.” After this phase,
they insisted that the weight would naturally come back on the same diet.
Well, as you will see as this story progresses, I nearly starved myself to death
waiting nine months for that to happen, and I don’t recommend it!
I loved avocados, so I often ate meals of them. I did not know better, and as a result,
I continued to break out and was extremely constipated, even as a raw fruitarian. Here I
was, on what I thought to be the ultimate diet, still contending with many health
challenges. Even though I stopped eating cooked grains, which I assumed were to blame
for my problems, and despite eating a ton of fruit, my bowel movements were
infrequent, very small, hard as rocks, and painful to pass. It was so bad that many times I
had to strain to get anything to come out! I was confused, thinking that a raw diet should
be the last thing to cause constipation. Later I would discover that not all raw diets are
the same, and the variations certainly produce different results.
It wasn’t long until the weights were discovered. Soon, Child Protective Services
(CPS) arrived at my house with a warrant to seize me for a psychological evaluation and
possibly put me into a mental illness lockdown facility! In the kitchen (while peeling the
first orange for my breakfast meal), I heard the argument between my parents and the
officers, and I shot out the back door. With the help of my brother and my cousin, who
understood that I was not mentally ill but just wanted to be healthy, I ran away to
Canada, accompanied by my brother.
My brother and I made up fake names and identities, and we became known as the
“Wild Bush Boys of BC.” I was forced into this fugitive role, having been told that if the
American authorities got their hands on me they were going to make me eat “normal”
food and force-feed me Ensure (a “liquid meal replacement” drink that is extremely
loaded with refined sugar and artificial additives—designed to “ensure” proper nutrition)
through a tube if I refused to drink it!
Still dealing with constipation, when I got to Canada, I went for a colonic irrigation.
After studying my eyes, the colon hydrotherapist (who also happened to be an
iridologist) told me that my bowels had been left with no options other than to balloon
out and form “pockets.” If she was right, then I may have to deal with these pockets for
the rest of my life. If I had read Dr. Graham’s book Grain Damage, I would have known
On the road, and with limited funds, I didn’t have access to all the fruit I wanted, so
I started losing even more weight. Eventually I was put into a Canadian hospital through
the efforts of a very concerned woman who helped and befriended us. My body had
unwittingly wasted, losing mass until my weight plummeted to only 84 pounds. Even I
was shocked!
At first I was absolutely panic stricken with the thought that they were going to
make me eat cooked processed hospital food, but to my utter relief, this hospital let my
brother go to the health-food store daily and bring me the raw organic foods that I
Having lost faith in the fruitarian diet that had failed me, and being in such a
vulnerable state, I was completely open to new ideas. Following the advice of many raw
food books, I decided to gain weight “the healthy way.” In addition to the green leafy
vegetables, I began eating TONS of fat. Some days I was wolfing down 6 or 7 avocados a
day, not to mention all the nuts, seeds, nut butters, and oil I used in my dressings. Having
abandoned some of my previous dietary dogma, I felt that I had opened a window and
had “seen the light.” I thought that I had finally found what worked for me. Little did I
know what I was getting into!
Because I was already in a hospital (just as the American doctors had wanted), and
because I thought I had nothing to lose, I agreed to risk blowing my cover to be filmed
by the Canadian media. Sure enough, this event led to my discovery, and nine months
after I ran away, my family finally found out where I was.
When my parents came to visit me, I told my mother that I wasn’t a fruitarian
anymore, but now I was a raw foodist. With some prodding from my mom, I completely
gave up the fruitarian ideology by adding some cruciferous vegetables and roots (eating
roots requires the death of the plant) to my diet. With this new identity of being a raw
foodist, I tried to prove to everyone that I was flexible in my eating habits. At this point I
subscribed to the “ism” of raw, pretty much eating anything as long as it was “raw.”
Hempseed butter … tahini … cacao … “Is it raw?” became the ultimate question.
Everything so far was in accordance with the raw books that I was reading. However, my
mother encouraged me to eat sushi, raw eggs, and raw dairy, which were forbidden by
many raw foodists.
Although I agreed in theory to eat these foods, it was more of a put-on than anything
else. There was no raw dairy to be had, and the hospital wouldn’t allow raw eggs (or raw
milk for that matter). My mom got me some raw smoked salmon, but I gladly used the
excuse that it contained table salt as my reason not to eat it. However, despite my
aversion to animal foods, I did include some fresh raw egg yolks when I got home,
because some raw food authors approved of them, and because they seemed to be less of
a taboo in my own mind.
Despite gaining weight very rapidly in the Canadian hospital (in only a couple of
months I was up to 110 lbs. and rising), and in spite of how far I had come from being a
fruitarian, those meddling American doctors had me flown to America in an emergency
supersonic jet (flown in from Japan), where they unjustly locked me in a mental
institution and tried to coerce and trick me into eating cooked hospital foods!
My mom adamantly warned them what a raw food expert told her—that raw
foodist’s bodies have a tough time adjusting cold turkey to a standard diet. Since they
have less of a mucosal lining as a barrier from allergens and toxins, they need to
gradually introduce cooked foods, starting first with lightly steamed vegetables, and
should also avoid glutinous grains. Her words were utterly disregarded!
I could fill pages expressing the horrors of my experience with this lockdown
facility. As soon as I got there, I was offered a plate of chicken, milk, greasy rice, canned
green beans, and chocolate cake! The nurses led me to believe I had to eat what was on
my plate or drink Ensure. Faced with these options, both of which were wretched
nutritional abominations, I started to panic. Thinking that all my previous attempts at
eating healthy and my running away to avoid the hospital and its food may have been in
vain, I almost had a nervous breakdown.
Now under the control of CPS, I felt vulnerable without the protection of my
parents. But I didn’t lose my wits and give in. Seeing as how this American hospital was
much different from the Canadian one, I realized that I would have to be persistent.
Eventually, after much persuasion, I was given raw food.
How did I finagle myself out of cooked food and Ensure? My guess is that my
weight wasn’t low enough to warrant force feeding, and I was willing to eat what little
variety of raw foods the hospital offered (mainly walnuts and some poorly ripened
bananas, apples, and oranges).
Much to the disappointment of the psychiatrist who was in charge of me and was
planning to starve me into submission, a judge ordered that she must let my parents
bring me more variety of what I would eat. Finally, the psychiatrist realized that her
plans to control me and make me eat cooked food were futile, so I was released under
many conditions.
Having achieved one victory, I was soon faced with a new challenge. Not long after
I was released from the hospital, I had my body-fat percentage tested, and it was 25%!!!
(Conventional “wisdom” considers body fat in the mid-teens to be healthy for men;
however, I later learned from Dr. Graham that single digits—under 10%, ideally about 4
to 8% for an athletic male—is a truly healthful level of body fat.)
The lady who tested me was shocked that such a skinny person could be so fat! She
said I was looking at increased chances of heart disease and many other health
challenges as I got older. It looks as though my weight-gaining strategy was working all
too well!
During a visit to the doctor who was appointed to oversee my weight gain, my
mother expressed deep concern about my 25% body fat and the substantial abdominal
cellulite I had developed. But my doctor showed no concern and even told us that it was
“anorexic thinking” for us to be concerned with my body-fat percentage!
I’m not surprised that I became fat, considering that neither hospital would let me
exercise. The American hospital even went so far as to tell me to sit down if I was caught
idly standing!!! This is why I blame the doctors for my exceptionally high body-fat
percentage. For the second time, they had blatantly ignored my mom’s reasoning—she
had forewarned the doctors what she had read—that it was vitally important for
emaciated people to exercise while they gain weight or they would only gain fat—not
Even knowing that my body-fat percentage was high, I forced myself to gain more
weight every day, to meet the demands of the doctors (they wanted me to be in the 10 th
percentile of BMI charts—where 10% of males my height and age weigh the same as I
do—even though the 5th percentile is normally considered acceptable). This was absurd,
since I didn’t have enough muscle for my age to meet this requirement without having an
excessively high body-fat percentage.
I always feared being put back in the mental facility, because one of the conditions
of my release had been that if I went four weeks without weight gain they could put me
back … only next time I would have to cooperate and eat hospital food!
They should have known that this was unreasonable, because muscle is slow to gain.
I heard that even the best bodybuilders rarely gain more than a pound of muscle a month.
I felt trapped, and I continued to eat unhealthy amounts of avocados, nuts, seeds, and oils
to gain this weight within deadlines the doctors had set for me. In the back of my mind, I
was scared by the thought that every pound I gained would even further add to my
already-too-high body-fat percentage. I knew that I should be exercising to gain muscle,
but I was not in the best of shape, and I didn’t have enough energy to motivate vigorous
Further adding to the problem, I became introduced to raw potlucks. The dishes
there mimicked all my favorite cooked foods, only this time, they were “healthy” (…
not!) Luckily, I was too lazy to make them at home, or else I probably would have eaten
nothing else! I had completely forgotten my hygienic background of mono fruit meals,
and I had lost the euphoric joyful feeling of simple eating.
Many raw food books had it so backward, even as to proclaim fruits as the enemy
because they had too much sugar. Thank goodness I was never strict enough to exclude
fruits, but I did limit them, which even further added to the number of calories I
consumed from fat. I felt heavy, had lots of extremely foul-smelling gas, my acne
returned in full force, and I once again suffered from constipation. I didn’t feel healthy
So, what did I do? I turned to superfoods. I thought that I wasn’t getting enough
minerals or that I must be deficient in some nutrient. Raw food books told me that
organic food wasn’t enough, and that I must have wild food, and more variety, including
the full array of superfood products they sold. So I ordered jars of powdered wild
vegetables, bags of cacao beans, and many other “extreme” foods that were supposed to
solve all my problems. But none of them could offset the effects of my poorly combined,
high-fat diet.
It wasn’t until I met Tim Trader and Laurie Masters at the National Essene
Gathering in July of 2004 that I got my first dose of 811. Laurie told me that she was
editing Dr. Doug Graham’s book entitled The 80/10/10 Diet. The two of them described
for me the basic concept behind the book—that “Fruit or Fat?” are really the only two
choices for getting calories as a raw fooders. I immediately knew that I was on the
extreme fat side of “Fruit or Fat?” I told them about my situation, and they showed a
genuine concern for my health.
At Tim and Laurie’s urging, I got myself to Dr. Graham’s lectures at the
International Festival of Raw and Living Foods in Portland later that summer. Though
the event left me feeling more informed, it was eye-opening to see all the different
opinions and conflicting advice among the speakers.
To my relief, it seemed as though Dr. Graham had sorted all this confusing mess of
information into a clear, sensible plan. Especially convincing, was his description of how
blood-sugar problems, commonly blamed on fruit, are actually caused by the impaired
function of insulin due to excess fat consumption. I knew I had to make some changes if
I was going to be healthy. If I was going to succeed as a raw foodist, I would have to be
more discerning in my food choices. I would have to ask more than, “Is it raw?”
Even after hearing Dr. Graham’s compelling speeches, I continually struggled with
811. I must admit, that it was at that very same festival that I left with a CASE of cacao
beans! Let me tell you, it is HARD to get over addictions.
I would be lying to say that I didn’t attend the very next local raw food potluck after
my return home from the Portland Festival. But something had changed. I was no longer
ignorant. Now I knew that this fat-laden, “combo-abombo” gourmet food was not
furthering my goal of ideal health. There’s no way I could enjoy my raw pizza as I had
before after hearing Doug’s “if it looks like pizza, and tastes like pizza, you can be sure
its going to digest like pizza” speech! Now I knew what I should be doing, and if I did
slip up, at least I knew it was a slipup.
At the end of August, I attended Raw stock for the first time, and it was a blast.
Seeing 811 being practiced up close and personal was so inspiring! I was reminded of
how natural and fun it was to eat simply. Knowledge is empowering, and it really does
inspire change. After Raw stock, 811 really hit home for me. Now, it was only a matter
of correcting bad habits, battling past addictions, and striving for 811 every day.
Whenever I have a question about 811 or other related topics, I can refer to Dr.
Graham’s VegSource message boards. Dr. Graham himself takes out of his own time to
offer his best advice. Many people on the boards offer expert advice and truly speak out
of experience. People there are friendly; no matter how silly or trivial the question
seems, usually someone can relate or offer their piece of useful insight. This board
continually inspires me to continue with my goals, teaching me new information and
equipping me with the knowledge to solve my own health challenges.
Knowing what I know now, neither my psychologist nor my mother was right about
why I couldn’t maintain my weight. I didn’t need grains, and I certainly didn’t need hot
dogs, hamburgers, ice cream, and donuts! All I needed was a little understanding, and a
LOT more calories! I just assumed that because I always ate when I was hungry, I was
getting enough calories. However, Dr. Graham pointed out that on the standard American
diet, the food is dense, high in calories, and doesn’t take up a lot of room in the stomach
compared to lower-calorie, water-rich fruits and vegetables. He explained that in order to
get enough calories on 811, you need to expand the stomach back to its natural size and
elasticity in order to fit in a lot more fruit. Not having this little piece of information
was, perhaps, the primary cause of my downfall as a fruitarian, second to not including
I thank Laurie Masters, Tim Trader, and Dr. Graham for empowering me to make
the right choices. Because of their help, I am no longer ignorant of the consequences of
my actions. 811 taught me how to manage my calories without overeating fat, so I have
no problem keeping on the weight.
The more fruit and less fat I eat, the more energy I have, and the more I feel like
exercising, which is precisely what I need to convert my high body-fat percentage into
lean muscular weight. The closer I eat to 811, the more all of my health challenges fade.
Clearer skin, better-functioning bowels, and increased energy are a great payoff for my
It feels good to eat simply, and I LOVE fruit! Unfortunately, I LOVE fat too! I am
still struggling, but I am doing my best, and my best gets better every day. At least now I
can see where I am going, and I am not walking around with a blindfold on.
Because of past experiences of letting other people influence my decisions and
consequently falling into many traps, I have learned to become a very independent
thinker. My grandma used to get mad that my parents paid for so many avocados when I
could have saved them some money by using olive oil instead. Now, after being a fan of
811 for quite some time, my mom just told me that my grandma says that I’m “mentally
ill” because I eat such an abundance of fruits, because I avoid grains, and because I
believe Doug Graham.
I just have to smile.
Theresa Remley, Sacramento, California
Finally, I can hear what my body is telling me after a lifetime of confusion and
pain. After first experiencing trauma-induced illness at about age five and my health
spiraling downward into debilitating physical and mental disorders, I searched diligently
for answers. I saw psychologists as a child and psychiatrists as an adult who could never
pinpoint the reason for my depression and anxiety because my underdeveloped mind as a
child suppressed what happened to me. I was often ill, eventually missing nearly one day
out of every week of school in the tenth grade due to sore throat and fever, yet I still
managed to excel academically.
In high school, I could not play soccer without having muscular-skeletal pain and
spiciness the rest of the day, and chiropractor visits could not repair this continuing
problem. At age seventeen, I awoke to severe pain in my lower chest over the course of
several nights. An endoscopy located a preulcerous condition, and I received antacid
pills as treatment instead of dietary advice, although I was already a vegetarian due to
my own conviction.
My general tiredness and sore throat intensified into acute, mono-like symptoms
when I was nineteen, so I went to yet another doctor and found out that I had an
abnormally high Epstein-Barr lab result. However, this was not explained to me. I
thought I had chronic fatigue syndrome, but this illness was widely misunderstood; thus,
my symptoms were largely ignored. My college attendance plummeted because of
insomnia, mental fogginess, and overwhelming fatigue and pain, and my depression
intensified due to my increasing sense of helplessness.
In 1997, I saw a clinical immunologist who finally diagnosed my physical illnesses
as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome, fibromyalgia, and allergic
rhinitis. He told me that I was an “extreme case” with a foreseeable future of having only
chronic, disabling illness. I then applied for Social Security income because of his
diagnosis which gave credence to my inability to work productively since I was nineteen,
and after ongoing battles with the court system, I received the aid.
I never knew how I was supposed to get better, and by fate, I met a chiropractor two
years ago who practices neuro-emotional technique, which involves muscle-testing to
uncover subconscious thoughts. My childhood trauma finally came out after three
months of twice-weekly sessions. The experience was draining, but I was relieved to find
out the root to all of my problems. The experiences as a child were more than I ever
could have imagined happening to me, so I understood why my once fragile mind could
not deal with it all.
I realized then that I had post-traumatic stress disorder and dissociation, which gave
me new focus in consequent emotional/ cognitive therapy and EEG brain-training
sessions. It all makes sense now—all of my heightened senses, panic attacks, low selfesteem, difficulty concentrating, depression, anger, insomnia, and eating disorders—I
can finally see that I reacted normally to something that was not my fault, and I am now
taking care of myself out of love that I did not know how to have before.
To think that my doctor once wanted me to take intravenous AIDS medicine—No
Way! As if more poison could heal me? I have learned that the band-aids that are put on
illnesses do not make them really disappear.
I am extremely sensitive to any form of drug, even those in foods. During this time
of illness in my adult life, my vegetarian diet transitioned toward vegan, and I frequented
the website for general, vegan recipes. I then went to Dr. McDougall’s
low-fat whole foods forum and tried that diet, thinking this was the healthiest one for
weight loss and vitality, although my body told me otherwise through its digestive upset.
I did not understand that this was a big problem, since I had more pressing burdens in my
When I spent the time and emotional energy to seriously turn inward and peel away
layers of toxic perceptions, I could see more about my eating habits. I saw that I needed
sugars for energy, yet I could not eat enough fruits if I ate a cooked food diet because of
my digestive troubles due to improper food combinations. I thus felt compelled to eat
processed junk food or drink caffeinated tea for stimulation (which made me feel sick
After two years of eating that diet (which barely gave me benefit), and finding my
identity, I was finally ready to take Dr. Graham’s forum on that website seriously. His
knowledge of exercise and food-combining principles that consist of low-fat, raw foods
with emphasis on fruit fit wonderfully with my newly found focus on holistic health.
I researched the general raw food scene during my immersion into this new lifestyle
over one year ago, and I made a few recipes from other leading raw foodists who limit
fruit and increase fats and protein. I felt heavy and sick from nuts and oils as well as
their improper food combinations, harsh flavorings, and unnecessary foods. I noticed
how my candida also flourished while eating that way. Additionally, it was easy for me
to overeat the dehydrated and “gourmet” meals, which is something that does not happen
when I eat whole, raw fruits and vegetables.
Because I have such a sensitive body, shouldn’t all “nutritionists” test their theories
on someone like me who can best show if their diets cause harm?
Dr. Graham is the only raw food teacher I will heed because he teaches in
accordance with my innate need to eat primarily fresh fruits and tender greens in proper
combinations, or just one type of fruit for an entire meal. By eating this way, I obtain
instant physical and mental energy that is sustained throughout the day—no more naps
and no more aches and pains after eating!
Only by eating this diet can I exercise without stimulants, and my recovery time is
much faster with much less pain than if I would eat overt, raw fats and cooked foods. I
feel only healthful benefits, as though my body feels clear enough to start serious
healing, and my throat and digestive tract began to feel amazingly better within the very
first day of eating this way.
When I decide to turn to cooked, vegan food as a type of band-aid to numb my
emotions and body, I instantly feel sluggish and dull-minded and have fibromyalgic pain
and sinusitis. However, I still do this occasionally for my evening meal, knowing full
well that this acts like a drug, because my emotional state is not the strongest. This need
for temporary relief sometimes takes precedence over the part of me that “knows better,”
since cooked food definitely does not promote health for me. Dr. Graham also showed
me the addictive power of cooked foods, and my heated supper can easily turn into an
all-I-can-eat, vegan buffet unless I consciously plan my meal beforehand. However, even
then I end up allowing more cooked food because of my addiction, which presents itself
with the very first bite.
It is actually freeing to see this addiction. I am working to be strong enough to stop
eating cooked foods entirely, for when I feel emotionally, spiritually, and mentally
secure, I abhor the drugged effect that cooked foods, especially grains, give me. My goal
is to be complete and connected, and the 100% low-fat, raw diet is an important truth in
the big picture of health.
I emphatically believe from experience, that all of my physical symptoms,
including candida, are secondary to the greater picture of my system originally shutting
down because of the trauma I experienced when I was a young child. Our bodies are
meant to heal when allowed to do so, and now is the time for me. I am happy to have
finally found a teacher in Dr. Graham, who is a leader by example and an enthusiastic
supporter of the intrinsic wisdom within all of us to heal.
Jacky Dees, West Bend, Wisconsin
For many years, I had a candida overgrowth with severe symptoms. The symptoms
were the classic ones—itching, burning, that “yeasty” feeling, digestive problems,
constipation, acne, fatigue, depression, plus many, many more. In desperation, I tried
everything I could think of to get rid of it. I read every book, pamphlet, article, and
website I could find about candida. I spent gobs of money and time trying to cure
I had tried conventional medicine, alternative medicine, supplements, therapies,
homeopathics, cleanses, mini-fasts, “candida diets,” naturopathy, and hypnosis, and I
even had my mercury dental fillings replaced. You name it, I tried it. When nothing
worked, I had basically resigned myself to the fact that the candida was here to stay. I
would spend the rest of my days feeling like garbage, and I was only 33 years old.
Depression set in, and my life turned darker and darker. On my darkest day of all, I
decided to go raw, cold turkey. That was January 2002.
During my search for a cure, I had been reading about the raw food diet on the
Internet. I started out using the high-fat raw diet, and over the course of the next year or
so I lost 30 pounds and looked like a skeleton (I’m 5′3″ and I was down to 85 pounds).
About half of my hair had fallen out, my teeth hurt, and I was basically an empty,
human-shaped shell walking around just trying to get through each day.
The amount of fat I was eating was incredibly high, but I had no idea that in reality,
I was eating very few calories. During this time, on the advice of the high-fat raw diet
promoters, I ended up on the “candida diet” for nearly a year (no fruit, only raw veggies
and fat and tons of supplements). I was convinced that someday the candida overgrowth
would just go away and all would be well again. But … that day didn’t come.
One day I was reading a popular high-fat raw message board, and I kept seeing
people there bad-mouthing Dr. Graham’s high-fruit, low-fat diet. I became curious about
this guy. I did a search, found his website, and eventually found my way to the
VegSource message board hosted by Dr. Graham. I’ve been reading it daily ever since. I
believe it has literally saved my life.
The thing I was struggling with on the high-fat, almost-no-fruit diet was that I
desperately wanted to eat fruit but was frightened away from doing so. After reading
some of Dr. Graham’s VegSource messages on candida, I was absolutely thrilled to learn
that I could eat fruit. Just reading that lifted my heart up to the skies. Also, when I read
that my candida overgrowth could be gone within weeks on this diet, I could hardly
believe it. Could it be? I had been fighting it for six years, and it could be gone literally
within WEEKS?!
At this point, I figured that I had nothing to lose. Nothing else had worked, why not
try this? I started to eat bananas. More and more bananas. I dropped the fats and ate tons
of fruit. And guess what? It happened. Gone. Within weeks.
I had a consultation with Dr. Graham in June 2003 and what he taught me was
incredibly enlightening. He educated me about 80/10/10rv and suggested healthy
changes to my lifestyle. I began working on improving these aspects of my life.
… And then the bottom fell out from under my world. My father, who had been
battling cancer for 14 years, was rapidly nearing the end. I was flying home every other
month to see him “one last time.” For comfort, I turned to eating cooked food—and not
the “good” kind either. I mean junk, and lots of it. My father died a couple days after
Christmas 2003; thankfully I was able to be with him during his final hours.
I’m happy to say that after I came home from the funeral, I picked myself up,
dusted myself off, and began 80/10/10rv with a vengeance. I’ve stuck with it ever since,
and each day is better than the last. My junk-food binge put the 30 pounds back on, plus
more, so I’m working on getting fit and healthy again. One day at a time. I have a long
way to go, but I haven’t felt this good since I was in my mid-20s.
Today, I am a 37-year-old female, 5′3″ tall, and about 120 pounds. I eat
approximately 2,000 calories per day and exercise daily. Most days, my lunch consists of
11–12 bananas plus celery or lettuce, and for dinner I eat fruit in season and a large
salad. I keep overt fats to only a couple of times a week. My goals are to lose the excess
fat, build some muscle, and improve my overall fitness. Signs of improved health have
returned—my hair grew back, my skin cleared up, my teeth stopped hurting, and my
digestion is improving. I’m also working on getting more sleep, sunshine, and fresh air.
It’s been, and continues to be, a fantastic journey.
I thought it was worthwhile to tell my story to let people know that this diet and
lifestyle do work to get rid of a candida overgrowth. I know firsthand. I was severely
losing the battle against candida when I started the 80/10/10rv lifestyle. Now, I’ve not
only beaten it, I’ve left it in the dust and gone on to win so many more battles.
The weapon to beat candida overgrowth is in the palm of your hand. If you decide to
you use it, I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
Valerie Mills Daly, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
For the first forty years of my life, I was totally immersed in the standard American
diet, depending a lot on processed foods and, as time went on, the fast food world as
well. After the birth of my children in my mid-twenties, my body weight gradually
increased, but my overall health was okay, at least to my way of thinking at that time.
Sure, I would get colds and flu now and then, and yes, I wasn’t as eager to run around in
the park after my kids, and yes, the stairs seemed to be more of a challenge, but overall I
saw myself as a fairly healthy person, even though the excess weight (at this time 70
pounds over my lowest adult weight) did not please me.
Just before turning 40, I married my second husband, and his children were
attempting to be vegetarians, of the egg- and dairy-eating variety. As a way of
connecting with the kids, I began to investigate this way of life, and decided it wouldn’t
really be that hard to change. So, for the next five years, we ate a mostly vegetarian diet,
during which time I put on another 70 pounds. I also began to have problems with my
During this time, I also saw my husband dealing with several health issues which
included high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and gastric reflux. I also witnessed the
severe side effects of the various medications he began to take to deal with these issues,
and I found myself wanting to avoid the same kind of experience.
However, as time went on, my health problems began to multiply. I became
asthmatic, which was very frightening. I also began to have problems with gastric reflux
and a hiatal hernia. For the first time I had problems with blood pressure, and when I was
41 or 42, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and had to start using a CPAP (continuous
positive airway pressure) machine at night to control my breathing. I had very little
energy, began to have fairly regular anxiety attacks, and felt very low emotionally much
of the time. I had perpetual head congestion, and I continuously cleared my throat. I
began to have problems with dry skin and brittle nails, and then psoriasis began to
appear. I began to break out with hives fairly regularly but could not find out what was
causing them. My hair began to thin very noticeably.
Then about five years ago, there was a period of time when I had intense itching all
over my body, but especially in the extremities, combined with intense swelling of my
hands and feet. Then there was extreme joint pain in my knees and ankles. This went on
for about a year. My doctor could not diagnose the problem and sent me to a
rheumatologist who suggested that I might have something called psoriatic arthritis, and
that I should try a certain medication. I can’t remember what it was called, but I do
remember that he said that it would require monthly visits for blood work, since the
medication was highly toxic to the liver. So, I made a choice—I thought I could better
deal with the itching and swelling than I could deal with not having a liver—so I just
said, “No thanks!”
I began to seriously investigate the area of nutrition at this time, and some friends
encouraged me to consider going vegan. I dropped the dairy and eggs that had continued
to be part of my diet. I LOVED cheese, but I hated what was happening to my body, so I
tried it out. I ate mostly fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, some raw and some cooked. I
began to see some improvement almost immediately; the psoriasis began to fade away, I
was able to use the CPAP less and less, and I began to lose some weight.
I was feeling pretty good about what was happening, and continued to do research in
the area of vegan nutrition. That was good, but what was not good was that I began to
increase my use of vegan processed foods, and I began to think I needed certain kinds of
supplements. My cupboard began to fill with various powders, pills, etc., all guaranteed
to be good for me. I also began to experience increased anxiety trying to find the “right
way” to become healthy. I also gained another 20 pounds.
I then connected with some folks who were following a modified raw diet,
averaging about 85% raw (15% fruit, the rest veggies, seeds and nuts) and 15% cooked.
They used supplements, but minimally, and juicing was a large part of the diet, as well as
making mock cooked foods, often with the help of a dehydrator. I was intrigued, and I
gave it a try. I bought a juicer, I bought a dehydrator, I bought the books, I bought the
special supplements.
I dropped processed foods entirely, drank a lot of juice, and ate a lot of salad.
Cooked food portions would often be based on potatoes, brown rice, whole-grain pasta,
or bread. I began to see improvement again: the weight began to come off, I had
increased energy, I was able to get rid of the CPAP completely, and my gastric reflux
disappeared. I still had problems with itching, but it had decreased.
The problem I ran into with this way of life, however, was that I began to have days
of weakness and hunger, which I would assuage with nuts and dried fruits, or dense foods
like hummus, other legumes, tahini, almond butter, etc. And I found I was beginning to
feel some of the old heaviness and apathy that I remembered from my SAD days. I
couldn’t understand it, because I thought I was doing everything right. The other thing
was, that I was simply tired of working so hard to make the right kind of food for me to
eat, especially since I was still cooking SAD food for my husband.
Then, I became familiar with the world of the 100% raw foodists; initially, it was
the writings of Victoria Boutenko and her family, Alissa Cohen, and Frederic Patenaude
that opened the raw food door for me. Their enthusiasm, their stories, their sincerity—all
of this inspired me to at least give it a try. So I bought books, milk bags, and slicers, got
myself all ready to go … and ran into another wall.
The more I read, the more confused I got, because there were even more voices out
there in the raw food world, and it was hard to find folks who would agree on the
constituent parts of the optimal diet. And I was really afraid of not doing it “right.” I
might get sick, or I might fall apart. (Funny, how I didn’t worry about this so much when
I was eating Twinkies and Ding Dongs!) Again, anxiety was my friend.
Finally, through a friend, I became familiar with Dr. Doug Graham and his work in
the area of raw food and Natural Hygiene. At first, I thought, “This is just way too
extreme,” but the more I read, the more I was attracted by the simplicity and common
sense in his information. It was hard to imagine that eating mostly fruit could be good
for me, and the whole 811 thing was pretty intimidating at first. (I am the Almond Butter
Queen!) But I came to believe that it just might work for me. While some other paths
had helped, I always seemed to come back to some basic problem with all of them.
Another part of his program that made a huge difference in my thinking was his list
of the other elements of hygiene. As Dr. Doug says, you can eat all the right foods, but
you are only as healthy as your weakest link—whether that be sleep, rest, water,
sunshine, movement, etc. I could see that I was looking at what I was eating to heal me,
and I was totally ignoring the other aspects of my health. I was trying to function on five
hours of sleep each night, no rest during the day, not enough water, very little exercise or
activity, no time outdoors in the sun at all (I didn’t want to get cancer … go figure). I
had never come across such a comprehensive program, and I decided to give it a try.
Well, it has been several months now. I am slowly losing weight (about a pound a
week on average; I still have over a hundred pounds to lose, but I’m not worried … it’s
coming off). My skin has improved, I am more alert, and my mood is generally positive.
I have no more anxiety attacks, no more swelling and itching of my hands and feet. I
have no more gastric reflux at all, no more joint or neck pain, and my head congestion is
minimal at worst (I can sing again without going into spasms of coughing, much to my
I am trying to establish a more regular schedule of sleep, and I use my lunch hour
for rest, sitting in my car and listening to soft music for an hour each day. I don’t juice as
much, and while I sometimes have monomeals, I still find myself depending on
smoothies for a good portion of my food intake. I am not 100% consistent, but I have
come a lot closer to the 811 ideal for my intake, and it was easier than I thought. And it
is definitely easier to eat a pile of clementines for dinner, than trying to make a raw
vegan version of the cooked food I am preparing for my husband!
When we go visiting, I just pack a couple of boxes of fruit, and eat that wherever we
go; most of my family and friends are used to this by now. If I go out for dinner, I just
call the restaurant ahead of time. If they can accommodate me, great; if not, I eat before
we go out and just go along for the company.
Things that I used to think would be hard about this way of life no longer seem that
way to me. I am so tired of being so limited, so sick of having to deal with so much pain,
that I am no longer willing to compromise in the name of “peace” with others; it is a
false kind of peace that demands that I do something that will ultimately hurt me. I am
going to turn 50 in 2005, and I hope to be even healthier and more energetic than I am
now. Every day seems to be better than the day before, and I find even the hard things
easier to handle. I would not go back for anything!
Kathy Raine, Ithaca, New York
I went raw six years ago for chronic intense jaw pain, which subsided on the raw
vegan diet when nothing else had helped. My husband and two young children went raw
with me, but eventually we fell away from it. When my pain came back, we went raw
again, and I researched a little bit more about the raw vegan diet through books and the
Internet. I experienced initial improvement, but after a while I hit a plateau with my
healing, and then started having health problems again. I felt I must be doing something
wrong; I was sure that raw vegan was my best option, but I was starting to get frustrated.
All along my journey, I had been confronting and clearing up fears, misgivings, bad
habits, and preconceptions about nutrition that were ingrained into me for years, and
slowly but surely, I was making progress. I knew that the more simply I ate, the better I
felt, but I wasn’t ready to step into Dr. Graham’s 80/10/10, low-fat diet until after I heard
him speak at the raw festival in western New York state for the third year in a row. What
he says about food and health makes a lot of sense. He also walks the talk about exercise
and is very inspiring in that respect.
When we got home from the festival, my family and I went right to raw, fresh,
whole, ripe, and organic fruits and vegetables. Our health started improving again right
away, and it is slowly gaining every day. An added benefit is that life is much simpler
now. I’m not spending hours prepping, dehydrating, and assembling fancy raw meals. I
buy a wide variety of fruits and veggies, and now it’s easier for my family to just look
around the kitchen and see what it is their body wants for nourishment. We also make
sure we exercise every day, and have fun doing it.
So in the last weeks that we’ve been eating this way, we’re doing better than ever
without all the nuts, oils, and dried “foods” we once relied on. We’ve also been doing
very well without supplements and powders, thank you. Our energy, strength, stamina,
and even mental attitude are improved. Our skin is healthier, our sleep better, and those
little and not-so-little health problems that were sneaking back are now sneaking away.
It’s a great relief to have Dr. Graham’s science and experience guiding my family and
Carina Honga, Langley, B.C., Canada
In January 2005 my alarm clock went off. The time had been long coming, but now
my health was deteriorating rapidly, and this time, my body wouldn’t let me hit the
I was 22 years old, a full-time university student, and a professional model. It was
crunch time. I had the biggest project of my academic career on my plate, no time for
hiccups. However, amidst this external chaos was an invisible parallel crisis being waged
inside my body.
Health had always been an issue for me; I had been given enough red flags in my
youth to make a bed sheet. Every second bite of food I took seemed to bite back,
increasingly so as time passed, and I quickly developed an unbalanced relationship with
food. The bloating of my abdomen would often leave me appearing several months
pregnant. I spent my adolescence hiding my inner pain, embarrassed by my symptoms.
During this time, I was also very active as a competitive figure skater, and so my caloric
intake was incredibly high, which only complicated my digestion further.
By 2005 I had long since abolished gluten and dairy from my diet of my own
volition, and following the indications of “health care professionals,” animal meat
became the staple of my diet. I was told I needed it to build muscle for training. I was
told I needed it because of my blood type (O–). I was told that I needed it for my
candida, for calories, for this and that; in short, meat was the answer to all of my
problems. I conceded, and reaped the consequences. My symptoms worsened.
So, when my digestion slowed even further in the fall of 2004, and ulcer symptoms
mounted, I was not caught off guard. I listened to the suggestions of doctors and
naturopaths and began to eat meat several times an hour to subdue the burning in my
stomach. It was a stressful time, as I was heavily involved in a large-scale project that I
was in charge of coordinating. Quickly, the anxiety attacks began. By now, my outward
appearance evidenced my internal strife, to everyone but me. I maintained focus on
school and ignored my health, modifying my involvement in projects only to the extent
that I would pause for anxiety attacks. Life went on.
I made it through that semester with the help of family and friends. Come January
however, the alarm was sounding so loudly that it became hard to ignore. My bowels
were moving once every 10 days at best, and attempts to medicate my ulcer symptoms
lead to mouth lesions. I was experiencing dizzy and fainting spells, as my blood pressure
dropped and heart rate plummeted. I was forced to drop half of my school course load, as
I was all but bedridden. Unable to care for myself sufficiently, I moved home.
The deciding factor came when my mother, a registered nurse, came home from
work one day disturbed by a girl my age who had just been diagnosed with colon cancer.
You’re next, she thought. Everything I had been told by the medical community had led
me to this.
I dropped everything and began my own research.
I soon happened upon information about raw food that changed my life. It didn’t
change my life because it was about raw—this is key—but because it described the
natural, physiologically sound relationship that humans are meant to have with food, and
with life. I first read David Klein’s Self Healing Colitis and Crohn’s , which lead me to
Dr. Graham. In retrospect, had I found the wrong info on raw, I know that I would have
continued to worsen. I was very lucky.
My diet changed overnight. Let me rephrase that, my life changed overnight. I
stopped eating everything I had been eating and started to eat fruit. Within days, I had
the first normal bowel movements I had ever experienced. However, my digestive
system still on the mend, I followed my instincts and ate very small amounts of juicy
fruit. This continued for about six weeks, after which I finally started to increase the
quantity; somewhere between two and three months, I added in vegetables.
Also after six weeks, I noticed that my eyesight had normalized completely, after a
decade of wearing glasses. Not just slightly improved, but entirely normal. My nails
began to grow thick and strong, as did my hair, which thankfully stopped falling out. (I
have since learned that this is a common occurrence among people switching to 811,
predictably followed by a healthy regrowth of new hair.) My eyes shone bright, my
previously puffy face deflated, and I looked the picture of health. So much so, in fact,
that after a few short months on this program, my parents became so convinced, that they
too began with 811. None of us have looked back.
I must stress that I did not only alter my diet; I altered my life. The school year
ended for me, and I began a deep, extended rest. I was sedentary for nearly six months
before I began vigorous exercise, and I avoided overt fats for this entire period. Each day
I sought fresh air and sunlight. All of this was made possible by my family’s love and
valuable support.
This all began over a year ago. I have since been to Costa Rica as an intern for Dr.
Graham at his fasting retreat, which inspired me to pursue health studies in order to
prepare myself for a career in the field. My experiences there, and the leadership Dr.
Graham has provided overall, have been influential beyond measure. Having found my
calling, and my mentor, I can enthusiastically say that 80/10/10 was the turning point for
the health of my family and me, and provided a foundation upon which I will pave my
professional future.
Ryan Earehart, Maui, Hawaii
The low-fat raw vegan diet has given me increased energy, more desire to perform
physical activity, the best digestion I have ever had, and complete satisfaction with my
pleasurable eating habits. Following a low-fat raw vegan diet has allowed me to achieve
levels of health I never dreamed imaginable.
Overcoming chronic fatigue, severe allergies, annoying acne, and burdensome
asthma were just the beginning. Over 3 ½ years ago, I virtually eliminated overt fats
from my previous raw diet and adopted a diet of whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic,
delicious fruits and plants.
Now I can eat as much of anything I want so long as it passes my two tests: first it
mustn’t have a bar code, and second I have to be able to make a meal of it by itself.
Eating mostly mono fruit meals with a nonfatty salad later in the day is my recipe for
success. Eating this way is just so easy— hardly any dishes, no fat to clean out of my
salad bowl, and hardly any time spent preparing my food.
Ten months ago, I changed my life dramatically and moved from the Arizona desert
to the jungles of Hawaii. I was feeling great, excited to live off the land in a remote
location without a vehicle. I soon discovered that I was unable to forage enough
carbohydrates into my diet, so in order to get enough calories, I chose to eat what was
raw, wild, fresh, and available. This included lots of veggies and garden greens, as wells
as non-sweet fruits like tomatoes and cucumbers.
Yes, I was eating bananas, papayas, guavas, jackfruit, cherimoyas, oranges, and
many other fruits, but not in sufficient quantities to meet my caloric needs. However,
there were plenty of coconuts, avocados, and macadamia nuts all around, so I used these
high-fat foods to meet my caloric needs. I was fine for about the first month, then I
noticed some wounds not healing very fast and even getting worse with time.
I had developed a staph infection quite simply by eating lots of fats mixed with lots
of sweet fruits, and my energy was drained. I was unable to perform intense physical
activity, and my wounds were still not healing. After a month of trying to let my body
heal itself while still eating the same way, I realized I was preventing my body from
healing by eating the coconuts, avocados, and mac nuts. So I began a water fast that
lasted nine days, during which I got lots of rest and completely healed all my wounds
and gained back my vitality.
This demonstrated to me once and for all that the low-fat raw vegan diet was the
only way for me. Since the fast, I have thrived each and every day by eating large
quantities of sweet fruits and large nonfat salads in the evenings. I keep my fat
percentage between 7 and 13%, and I have never felt better. Thanks, Doug, for teaching
me the science that makes my body thrive.
Julie Wandling, Akron, Ohio
Four years ago, I weighed 315 pounds, with high blood pressure of 199/100 and very
high cholesterol. I was experiencing severe chest pains, ringing in the ears, dizziness,
and overall body pain. I never slept well and was basically miserable in my own body.
The doctor told me I was borderline diabetic, and I was living on muscle relaxers due to
chronic lower-back pain—all at age 35!
In 2000, I discovered The Hallelujah Diet and from there Dr. Doug Graham. My
mom and I adopted the raw food diet and immediately experienced physical benefits.
After becoming Health Ministers, we started a support group and invited Dr. Graham to
visit. After hearing him speak on the benefits of fruits over fats, I began limiting nuts,
seeds, and oils and increasing fruits. I had always been told to avoid fruit because I was
obese, so this was a bit scary at first. One doctor even told me never to eat bananas as
they would cause me to become diabetic! Now I thrive on bananas. Needless to say,
we’ve had Dr. Graham come back to speak for us several times now! Besides being a
great lecturer, he is fun to play with.
My two boys, Corbin and Ryan, changed their diets along with me and have
experienced awesome health ever since. Both love when Dr. Graham comes to visit
because he plays tennis with them—soon they will be beating him! They eat cases of
fruits every week along with plenty of salads and a few cooked vegan foods. They are
training everyday and playing tournament-level tennis every weekend at ages 13 and 10
respectively. Ask them their favorite food and they will both reply, “Banana smoothies!”
Dr. Graham says something in his lectures that really prompted us to not just
exercise but to play hard—he said we need to “earn our fruit.” I am happy to report that
four years later, I have lost 125 pounds, my blood pressure averages 110/70, and my
cholesterol is 153! I play hard and live a full, pain-free life!
Dr. Samuel Mielcarski, Roswell, Georgia
As a child, I loved to eat. I was never overweight, but I experienced a plethora of
other problems, such as joint pain, lethargy, mood swings, gas and bloating, and feeling
feverish, anxious, and sometimes really depressed.
As I moved into to my teenage years, I was informed that these issues were just part
of being a teenager and that I would “grow out of it.” When I hit my early twenties, I was
still waiting to grow out of the problems I was having, but they persisted and eventually
worsened instead.
I was always a competitive athlete growing up, and after college I decided to
compete in an amateur body-building competition. In 1998, at the age of 25, I found
myself on stage holding a second-place trophy at the Mr. Atlanta Body Building
Competition in Atlanta, Georgia.
I appeared to look great to those watching the show, but this greatness was merely
superficial. I did not look so great on the inside, as became evident in the weeks
following the competition. It was then that my typical childhood and teenage symptoms
began to worsen, compounded by significant intestinal pains and urogenital problems,
including prostatitis.
Prostatitis is a condition where the prostate gland (the chestnut-like structure that
sits below the bladder and surrounds the urethra in a male) becomes inflamed and
irritated. This condition can lead to problems with urination and sexual functioning.
It became apparent to me that I had this condition when on several occasions I felt
the need to urinate but was unable to do so. This was a most frightening experience at the
time. I sought a professional opinion from a urologist, who confirmed the diagnosis of
chronic prostatitis. When I asked him about the cause of this condition, he said, “We are
not really sure, but it appears to be a cluster of infections that collect in the prostate
region of the body.” When I asked about a possible link between my diet and the
intestinal pains, bowel irregularity, and prostate problems I was having, the doctor just
said, “I suppose there could be a link.”
I was determined to find the cause and rehabilitate it, and without drugs!
Concurrently with rehabilitating myself from poor health, I discovered the science of
Natural Hygiene. Implementing the principles of this true health-care system as part of
my rehabilitation, I was somewhat successful in conquering the cause of the problem, as
well as preventing other problems from developing. I had several signs and symptoms of
cancer already, and I was in the prime age group for developing testicular cancer, despite
being told by some medical doctors, “You are too young to have such problems.”
A year after the competition, I was feeling better, but not 100% better. When it
came to restoring my health, I wanted perfection. It was at this time that I met Dr. Doug
Graham at a Raw Passion event. Dr. Graham provided me with profound dietary advice.
He explained the concept of a raw vegan diet in simple terms, and it all made sense to
me. I realized that although I had made many healthful changes in my life, my diet was
still in need of some adjustment. The ways I ate as a child and during the body building
competition were not truly healthful, as evidenced by the disease and distress I suffered
while consuming such a diet.
After implementing the low-fat raw vegan dietary and lifestyle principles Dr.
Graham shared with me, my body was finally restored back to optimal health and wellbeing. Dr. Graham showed me that bodily building was more important than just body
I still love to eat. The difference now is that I don’t suffer the usual symptoms and
distress I used to experience when doing so. From one doctor to another, thanks so much,
Dr. Graham, for all your help!
Laine Smithheisler, Nashville, Tennessee
I did not become raw because I had any noticeable illnesses, nor did I do it for
animals’ rights. I was young, in good shape, mentally stable, and was a member of a
loving, albeit somewhat dysfunctional, family. I still can’t put a finger on why I became
raw. I just did, and much of the time that seems like an oddity in the raw community.
Yet, I have the feeling that a silent majority of people out there have had similar
experiences of just happening to come into contact with the idea of raw foods. I want
these people to know that a healthier lifestyle is indeed relevant to them. However, I
don’t want anyone to have to make the mistakes I did by following a high-fat raw diet
supplemented with dehydrated foods. Because raw foods is much more widespread and
mainstream today, everyone should be able to find the “right” sources; in effect,
bypassing the hurdles that those of us who had no other knowledge ran straight into.
After two and a half years of eating completely raw (May 2002) and at the young
age of eighteen, I began experiencing extreme fits of pain, which would endure for entire
nights. It felt like someone was pressing down on the center of my chest while thrusting
my stomach into my chest—like a heart attack mixed with acid reflux. For the next six
or seven months, I let this continue, and continue it did—frequently (cycles of one or
two nights a week followed by a few months of absence). However, I think the worst part
was that slight pains, similar to acid reflux, would start early in the day before an entire
night of full-blown pain. I often knew what was coming, imagining and dreading it.
In January of 2003, under the pressure of my family (who practice the standard
American diet) and doctors, I allowed doctors to remove my unusually inflamed and
infected gallbladder (which was even worse than that of a person on the standard
American diet who has gallbladder problems, and certainly abnormal for someone so
Overwhelmed by a high-fat diet (and, yes, I was 100% raw), my gallbladder had
fallen victim to gallstones, which are built from bile particles—in my case, mostly
constituted from fats. Produced in the liver and secreted by the gallbladder, bile helps the
small intestine digest fats and remove waste products. A gallstone can grow as liver bile
passes through the gallbladder. Consequently, my high-fat diet multiplied this effect,
meaning the more fatty foods I ate, the more bile was released and trapped.
Still, the pain failed to cease after doctors removed my gallstones. Near the end of
that January, I developed jaundice—a symptom of a gall- bladder infection—which cast
a yellow tint to my skin. It was at this point that the seriousness of what was happening
hit me.
Imagine eating raw foods for so long and being confronted with this situation. A
year of the most mind-numbing pain had deeply affected me, and I gave the doctors
permission to operate on my body. Though I am thankful I do not suffer the pain any
longer (though there are occasional pangs reminiscent of previous pains that continue to
frighten me), I still experience mental grievances at the thought of what I permitted—no,
not allowing doctors to remove a bodily organ, but rather, letting myself adopt the
mindset that as long as I followed any raw diet, my worries were over.
Though I mostly avoided oils, at one point I had been consuming a small jar of
almond butter a day for several months. I should have realized that eating two or three
avocadoes a day wasn’t the answer to Eden. Yet, my answer to high-fat was just as
detrimental. Instead of focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables, I supplemented the
stimulation and satiation I got from avocados and nuts with the quick fix of very highsugar fruits. I would eat twenty or thirty dehydrated figs or dates daily. My payment
consisted of dreaded trips to the dentist and multiple cavities.
I know one can be deficient on raw foods, and I struggle just as much as the next
person. But, I also know that a sound diet can correlate with a sound mind. By learning to
appreciate and reward my body by eating a low-fat, low-sodium diet (Doug Graham’s
811rv), I have learned to love myself by realizing that health is much more than diet and
exercise. For me, health can be as seemingly simple as proper sleep or the having a
positive attitude, and as complex as intellectual stimulation or maintaining and repairing
human relationships.
Lori Williamson, Portland, Oregon
My name is Lori Williamson, and I am a licensed massage therapist. I have been
eating raw food since 1997 and was building to an all-raw vegan diet. I finally leaped
into 100% raw on August 25, 2003.
Before I started to eat raw food, I had a whole host of health problems that were
terrible to live with. Vertigo, fatigue, depression, carpal tunnel syndrome, stomach
aches, sciatica, neck pain, migraine headaches. Although raw food helped me get past
these terrible ailments, changing to Dr. Doug Graham’s 811 program took me beyond
any diet I could imagine!
Still consuming lots of raw dehydrated products and raw fats, when I came across
811, I really started to notice some energetic differences. Even though I had been high
raw for many years, I still had some problems. When I went 100% raw, the problems
lessened a lot, but my teeth were very sensitive and were not doing as well as I would
have hoped on all raw, because of the high nut content in my food. My back would be a
little stiff from sleeping on a stomach filled with raw fat or dehydrated food. My periods
were still slightly painful, and food did not digest well—until 811, that is.
Now when the I follow the 811 program, I have this boundless energy that tickles
my stomach, and I get so excited I want to laugh and giggle. Maybe it’s because I am so
happy that I do not have to deal with health problems anymore.
When I think of Dr. Doug Graham’s work, I think of the following quote from
Albert Einstein: “Nothing will benefit health and increase the chances for survival of life
on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
As raw fooders, we thought we had it all, but when the 811 program came along,
raw vegan truly evolved. I wish everyone could experience the way one feels on this diet.
It is amazing!
Thank you, Dr. Graham, for your continued efforts to help people attain their
optimum health.
Petr Cech, Denmark
I have been incorporating Dr. Doug Graham’s low-fat raw vegan plan into my life
since 2003. At first I had my doubts, and I sometimes stepped aside from my path,
making lifestyle choices that did not serve me so well. But I knew the 80/10/10 program
was right for me, so I have stayed on this diet now for almost two years, learning and
refining it more and more.
I used to struggle with my weight, undereating calories or overeating fat. I had no
energy and was very thin. I have absolutely no problem gaining weight and muscles on
811. I have gained 20 pounds on this high-carb, low-fat diet, eating two to three meals
each day. It takes some time to adjust the (unnatural) body to this (natural) diet, but it is
undoubtedly worth it.
If I also meet the other needs of my body (sleep, rest, sunbath, exercise, spiritual
needs), this diet plan allows me to focus fully on my daily activities, supporting my
body’s nutritional requirements and enabling short recovery time after training, better
sleep, and better resistance to colds, sore muscles, and sunburn.
Dr. D. advises that we get “enough” calories in our main meal. For me, that is 1,500
kcal at lunch. Eating a large afternoon meal frees me to concentrate on things other than
food during the day, leaving me satisfied for four to six hours after eating. Before, I was
eating five meals a day; now it’s usually two to three.
One thing is for sure, I would never make it without Dr. Graham. His wisdom,
experience, honesty, and patience in answering questions have helped me through many
dark times.
The most precious things I have learned from Dr. Graham’s books and personal
comments: Keep it simple and see the bigger picture of healthful living. I never met Dr.
D., but my thoughts and love will ever be with him.
Dave Klein, Sebastopol, California
Twenty years ago, after being very sick for eight years with ulcerative colitis, I saw
the light and all at once changed my SAD diet to a 95% raw low-fat vegan diet of mostly
fresh fruits. I healed up quickly and went on to experience robust dynamic health.
Over the past ten years, I have maintained a 100% raw low-fat vegan diet and my
mental and physical energies have never been higher. I am age 46; a friend told me the
other day that I look like I am 17. When I eat nuts, seeds and/or avocado more than once
per week, my physical energy and mental clarity decrease, and I don’t feel and look
healthy and alive. Eating more fat than we can digest and utilize leads to toxemia and
subpar health.
People forget that there is some fat in bananas and even lettuce, and I eat plenty of
those. That is really sufficient, except during the winter. During the initial detoxification
and rebuilding phases, a low-fat vegan diet may not seem sufficient, but if you stick with
it and live a healthful lifestyle in a climate that is not too cold, it becomes apparent that
the 80/10/10 diet is the optimum way to go.
Robert Dyckman, New York, New York
Last year, I heard Dr. Graham speak about the 80/10/10 ratio of nutrients, and even
though I’d been off the standard American diet (SAD) for three years, I still occasionally
felt sluggish and a bit clogged up when I overconsumed nuts, seeds, and other fats. Now,
while that was still better than the way I felt after a SAD meal, I prefer enjoying superior
health, not just average or “standard.”
So I made changes in my eating habits, vectoring my diet in the direction of
80/10/10, and in a very short period of time I felt more energetic during and after
exercise, slept better, felt calmer and more at ease, saw better definition in my muscles,
and perhaps best of all for me (an actor and singer), my singing voice was clearer and
stronger! It also now takes a heck of a lot less time to warm up my voice before I
This year has been amazingly healthful and I feel grateful for the bounty that awaits
me every single day. Thanks Dr. Graham for your inspiration and wonderful knowledge!
Sky Grealis, New Brunswick, New Jersey
I was so pleased with the results when I first transitioned to a raw diet, and I thought
I could eat anything raw with abandon and maintain perfect health. When I found myself
as tired as I had been before raw, I blamed it on “detox.” Luckily, it was at that point that
I found Dr. Graham and the 811 way of eating. Thanks to him and this program, I am
energetic, have lost 35 pounds, and have been able to put on solid muscle for the first
time in my life.
Dr. Graham is the most down-to-earth leader in the raw food movement—one who
offers common-sense advice and speaks the truth even if the world doesn’t seem ready to
hear it. Hats off to Dr. Graham and low-fat raw veganism!
Tera Warner, Montréal, Québec, Canada
I’ve spent 30 years feeling lost in my own skin. I’ve never suffered any significant
health issues, and I always had tonnes of energy (relatively speaking), but I’d look in the
mirror and think, “Those are my legs!? That’s my skin!?” This morning I woke up
feeling tearful appreciation for the fact that after 30 years of struggling with insecurity
and self confidence, I’m finally starting to feel comfortable in my own skin. My skin is
soft, water retention disappears more and more every day. I know my limits, I control
my food (instead of it controlling me). This, the result of working relentlessly toward
achieving 811rv.
I understand that health is more than nutrition, but for me, when proper nutrition
has been applied, everything else sort of settles right into place naturally. I had no idea
that 811 would have had such a tremendous effect on my life. I thought I was happy, high
energy, active, and positive … I guess it’s a matter of degree. I’m thrilled about plunging
myself into this living adventure the most I can—and about reveling in this newfound
liberty of thought. I look forward to meeting Dr. Graham next year and thanking him in
Appendix D. Resources for Diet Analysis
A number of websites exist that can analyze the food you eat. Two of my favorites
are and They calculate your intake of various nutrients and
help you make sure you are getting an appropriate number of calories each day. Most
people do not realize just how little fat it takes in the diet to exceed 10%, given that even
fruits and vegetables contain some fat. The automated calculators are very helpful in this
You can also download a PC version of FitDay, which allows you to use the
software without being on the Internet. Or you can download another excellent free
program (I consider it the best), called CRON-O-Meter, from
This tool yields results including a caloronutrient pie chart; a summary listing of
calories, protein, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, and minerals; and a detailed breakdown
of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, lipids, and more. You can view all of this data for
any single ingredient or food, for any recipe you enter into the program, or for an entire
day’s intake.
Unfortunately, there are many variables in the caloronutrient equation, and you will
find widely differing results among the various nutrition-analysis tools on the market
(see sidebar, “Trying to Replicate the Numbers?” on page 333). Thus, your calculations
may not correlate exactly (or even closely) with the ones in this book or with the
numbers that others claim to have derived. At best, they are rough estimates. Use them
The USDA Nutrient Database
The above products and their competitors all use for their underlying data the
USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, a repository of nutritional
information for more than 7,300 foods. Available on CD-ROM, as well as online at, this database tracks more than 100 nutrients and
is the foundation of virtually all public and commercial nutrient databases used in the
United States and a number of foreign countries.
The database is a compilation of data derived from published scientific and
technical literature as well as unpublished sources, such as the food industry, other
government agencies, and research conducted under USDA contracts with universities
and food testing laboratories. Unfortunately, less than 15 percent of its information
comes from primary laboratory research.
The USDA periodically reviews and updates information for some portion of the
foods it tracks and issues new releases of the database. For example, release SR-16 (its
sixteenth major release) in January 2004, updated nutrient profiles for 28 raw fruits and
23 raw and cooked vegetables. At least nine fruits changed significantly in terms of
caloronutrient ratio with that release. Therefore, it is a good idea to check that the
software you choose for calculating your calorie and nutrient intake keeps up to date
with the most recent data from the USDA. As of late 2010, the current release is SR-23.
An Inexact Science at Best
Unfortunately, the information in the USDA database (though it is the best information
available) is of questionable value. A 1993 General Accounting Office report criticized
the Department of Agriculture for using lax methods to evaluate nutrients, citing (among
other things) small sample sizes and “little or no supporting information on the testing
and quality assurance procedures used to develop the data.”86
Even under the best of circumstances, nutritional analysis is far from an exact
science. The USDA attempts to address “physiological availability” of the
caloronutrients in foods, but it does not consider in any meaningful way, whether the
foods are cooked or raw, animal or plant. It does not begin to account for nutritional
differences between conventional produce, organically grown produce, and produce
grown in highly bioactive soils. At the micronutrient level, these cultivation methods
would yield considerably different results. Sadly, Western science is generally ignorant
of such issues at the level that raw nutritional science and Natural Hygiene understands
Nonetheless, the USDA database is the primary source of food nutrient data for this
nation and beyond. Until some well-funded organization with a holistic health
perspective and a different set of assumptions is able to undertake the nutrient analysis
of fresh organic produce grown in nutrient-rich soils, the USDA database is all we have
to analyze our nutritional intake.
Trying to Replicate the Numbers?
If you are mathematically minded and attempt to deconstruct the numbers in this
book or on the USDA website, you will have to do some serious digging. After years of
working with these numbers, I have learned some things about their derivation.
Atwater Energy Factors: Not 4-4-9
When assigning calories per gram values to each food item, the USDA does not simply
multiply carbohydrate, protein, and fat by 4, 4, and 9, respectively. Instead, it uses the
“Atwater system for determining energy values” for whole foods. The Atwater system
uses specific energy factors that have been determined for basic food commodities.
These factors purportedly take into account the physiological availability of the energy
from these foods.87
The more general factors of 4-4-9 calories per gram (kcal/g) were derived from the
specific calorie factors determined by Professor W. O. Atwater and his associates a little
over a century ago. As evidenced in the “Food Description” table of the Microsoft
Access version of the USDA database, Atwater’s system is significantly more complex
than one might expect, for its conversion factors vary widely among foods.
Here are some examples of the Atwater conversion factors for selected categories of
whole plant foods which, with a few exceptions, are consistent for all foods within the
category. (Multi-ingredient prepared foods listed by brand name in the database
generally reflect industry practices of calculating calories based on the 4-4-9 formula).
Nuts & seeds:
fat 8.37 protein 2.44*
fat 8.37 protein 3.36
fat 8.37 protein 3.47
fat 9.02 protein 4.27
fat 8.84
(oils are 100% fat)
Although the Atwater system does include conversion factors for carbohydrates, the
USDA calculates carbohydrates by difference (100% – protein % – fat %), ensuring that
the three caloronutrient percentages add up to 100.
Some of the nutrient analyses of recipes and foods in this book, as well as the food
charts at the back of this book, use the Atwater numbers. However, we used Nutridiary
for many of the calculations, which employs a slightly modified version of the 4-4-9
Inaccuracies in Nutridiary and FitDay
* The only instance where the Atwater factors and the general factors differ significantly
is in the amount of protein contained in vegetables. In general, Nutridiary overstates the
protein in vegetables by as much as 7 percentage points. FitDay’s error (compounded by
its use of an outdated version of the USDA database) is more significant, and the protein
shown in vegetables can be overestimated by as much as 30 percentage points. Because
of the extremely low caloric density of vegetables, however, these errors are unlikely to
affect your overall caloronutrient ratio by more than 1%.
Varying Options for Common Portions
In addition to differing conversion factors or outdated versions of the USDA data,
another source of variance among popular nutrition-analysis software products is how
differently they handle food portions. One calculator may give you lettuce choices that
include “head,” “ounces,” and “cups shredded.” Another may offer “grams” and
“innerleaf.” Nutridiary provides the most complete drop-down list of common servings
for its food items that I have found, a very useful feature.
Operator Error
Without a food scale, estimating portions can be highly unreliable. Neither guessing at
weight nor choosing from highly subjective predetermined measurements like “1
medium fruit” or “2 small stalks” produces the best results.
If you are serious about taking on the 80/10/10 challenge, especially if you plan to
analyze nutrition for others, I suggest purchasing a small digital kitchen scale. A useful
model is the My Weigh KD 600, which has a 13.2 lb (6 kg) capacity with 0.1 oz (1 gram)
increments, and features hold, tare, and automatic power off functions. The KD 600 is
available through online auctions for about $50.
The 80/10/10 Success Guide
The table that follows lists the macronutrient content of about a dozen common
fruits, vegetables, and fats, as well as some cooked starches, for those who eat them. You
can find data on these foods and dozens more in The 80/10/10 Success Guide, available
for purchase on my website, at This six-page set of full-color laminated charts includes a one-page “cheatsheet” summary of the dietary guidelines in this book, making it a fabulous resource for
new 80/10/10 enthusiasts or anyone who wishes to share the principles of healthful
eating with their friends and loved ones.
About the Author
Dr. Douglas Graham, a lifetime athlete and twenty-seven-year raw fooder, is an
advisor to world-class athletes and trainers from around the globe. He has worked
professionally with top performers from almost every sport and field of entertainment,
including such notables as tennis legend Martina Navratilova, NBA pro basketball player
Ronnie Grandison, track Olympic sprinter Doug Dickinson, pro women’s soccer player
Callie Withers, championship bodybuilder Kenneth G. Williams, Chicken Soup for the
Soul coauthor Mark Victor Hansen, and actress Demi Moore.
Dr. Graham is the author of several books on raw food and health, including The
High Energy Diet Recipe Guide, Nutrition and Athletic Performance, and the
forthcoming Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries . He has shared his strategies for
success with audiences at more than 4,000 presentations worldwide. Recognized as one
of the fathers of the modern raw movement, Dr. Graham is the only lecturer to have
attended and given keynote presentations at all of the major raw events in the world,
from 1997 through 2005.
Dr. Graham is a founder of and is currently serving his third term as president of
Healthful Living International, the world’s premier Natural Hygiene organization. He is
on the board of advisors of Voice for a Viable Future, the Vegetarian Union of North
America, Living Light Films, and EarthSave International. He serves as nutrition advisor
to the magazine Exercise, for Men Only and authors a column for Get Fresh! and Living
Nutrition magazines.
Dr. Graham is the creator of “Simply Delicious” cuisine and director of Health &
Fitness Weeks, which provide Olympic-class training and nutritional guidance to people
of all fitness levels in beautiful settings around the world. He is living proof that eating
whole, fresh, ripe, raw, organic food is the nutritional way to vibrant health and vitality.
1. “Trends in Intake of Energy and Macronutrients—United States, 1971–2000,”
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report , February 6, 2004, pp. 80–82. Department of
Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed at
mm5304.pdf. ♠
2 . U.C. Berkeley News press release by Sarah Yang, June 1, 2004, as quoted in U.C.
permission. ♠
3. A widely publicized report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists
obesity as the nation’s second leading cause of preventable death, responsible for
320,000 to 400,000 annual deaths and predicted to soon overtake tobacco as the numberone cause. The number is being adjusted due to a statistical error, but regardless of the
actual number, there is no doubt that obesity is a devastating health issue in our nation.
See “CDC: Obesity Deaths Overstated,” by the Center for Consumer Freedom, dated
November 23, 2004, available online at
headline=2691. ♠
4. Tanner, Lindsey. “Americans Eat Themselves to Death,” Associated Press: March 9,
2004. Accessed at ♠
5. “American Heart Disease,” from the Franklin Institute Online website: ♠
6. Arias, Elizabeth and Smith, Betty L. “Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2001,” National
Vital Statistics Reports. Vol. 51, No. 5, March 14, 2003. Accessed at ♠
7. “Cancer Basics: What Is Cancer and Why Does It Occur?” May 13, 2004. Accessed at
The Mayo Clinic website: ♠
8. “Diabetes: Disabling, Deadly, and on the Rise,” April 7, 2004. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention. Accessed at ♠
9. Saxe, John Godfrey (1816–1887). “The Blind Men and the Elephant.” This version of
the famous Indian legend is in the public domain. ♠
10. Greger, Michael. Atkins Facts. This 47-page eBook, which contains 487 source
references, is available online at Quoted with permission. ♠
caloronutrient ♠
12. Visit for a tremendous amount of
information about the toxicity of animal milk for humans of any age. ♠
13. If you wish to learn more about glycemic index versus glycemic load, visit The creator of this website, David Mendosa, is coauthor
o f What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up…And Down? (New York: Marlowe & Co.,
August 2003). ♠
14. “Evidence-Based Nutrition Principles and Recommendations for the Treatment and
Prevention of Diabetes and Related Complications,” Diabetes Care 25:202–212, 2002.
Accessed at
content/full/25/1/202. In addition to making a clear statement in favor of whole-fruit
sugar for diabetics, this article from the American Diabetes Association recommends
that Type 2 diabetics consume a “very large” amount of fiber—so much, in fact, that
they predict most people will not enjoy consuming it. The 80/10/10 diet, which consists
of essentially 100% high-fiber foods, aligns with this guideline perfectly. Here is the
quote: “In subjects with type 2 diabetes, it appears that ingestion of very large amounts
of fiber are necessary to confer metabolic benefits on glycemic control,
hyperinsulinemia, and plasma lipids. It is not clear whether the palatability and the
gastro-intestinal side effects of fiber in this amount would be acceptable to most
people.” ♠
15. You can read more about the role of dietary fat in blood-sugar metabolic disorders in
The Pritikin Program for Diet and Exercise (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1979), by
Nathan Pritikin with Patrick M. McGrady, Jr. I also recommend Health and Survival in
the 21st Century by Ross Horne (Sydney, Australia: Harper Collins, 1997), an out-ofprint Natural Hygiene book. It is now available only on the Web, at
01hyglibcat/020122horne.21stcentury/020122toc.html. See chapters 6 and 16 for
information specific to fat and diabetes. ♠
16. The information in this sidebar comes from Michael Greger’s Atkins Facts. ♠
17. Dansinger, Michael L., et al. “One Year Effectiveness of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight
Watchers, and Zone Diets in Decreasing Body Weight and Heart Disease Risk.” Tufts
University, New England Medical Center, Boston, Mass. ♠
18. “Major Increase in Diabetes Among Adults Occurred Nationwide Between 1990 and
1998,” press release dated August 23, 2000 from the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. Accessed at
diabetes/news/docs/000823.htm. ♠
19. Joslin, EP. “Atherosclerosis and Diabetes.” Ann Clin Med 1927;5:1061. ♠
20. Breneman, Carol J. “Type II Diabetes…Self-Induced Disease?” Millersville
University (1997). This article also cites studies by Felber, Anderson, Burkitt, and
others, all demonstrating the correlation between dietary fat and diabetes. Accessed at Also, a 2001 Science News
article briefly describes Dr. I.M. Rabinowitch’s work. Entitled “Diabetic Patients Can
Eat Sugar If Fats Are Eliminated,” the article can be found online at ♠
21. Van Eck, W. “The Effect of a Low Fat Diet on the Serum Lipids in Diabetes and Its
Significance in Diabetic Retinopathy. Am J Med. 1959; 27:196-211. ♠
22. Anderson, J.W. and Ward, K. “High Carbohydrate, High Fiber Diets for insulinTreated Men with Diabetes Mellitus. Am J Clin Nutr, 1979; 32:2312-21. ♠
23. “Low-Fat Diet Alone Reversed Type 2 Diabetes in Mice,” press release dated
September 10, 1998 from the Duke University Medical center. Accessed at ♠
24. Yiamouyiannis, John. Fluoride the Aging Factor: How to Recognize and Avoid the
Devastating Effects of Fluoride. (Delaware, OH: Health Action Press, 1993). ♠
25. For more information about Robert Koch, physician, bacteriologist and hygienist
Interestingly, Koch’s original version of postulate #3 did not contain the word
“susceptible.” In order to make germ theory consistent, the third postulate was changed
to say that the germ had to produce the original disease in a “susceptible” new host.
Horne, Ross. Health and Survival in the 21st Century. (See note #17). In chapter 6, Horne
relates, “With the addition of the single word “susceptible” the entire concept of the
germ theory is changed. The accent is taken away from the germ and placed on the word
susceptibility…in other words, for a germ to cause a disease in anybody, at any time, it
can only do so if the person is susceptible.” ♠
26. Horne, Ross. Health and Survival in the 21st Century. See note #17). The Pasteur
story begins in chapter 2. Subsequent chapters, particularly 4 through 6, contain
information specific to the fallacy of the germ theory of disease. Another well-
researched book on this subject is The Curse of Louis Pasteur: Why Medicine Is Not
Healing a Diseased World, by Nancy Appleton, PhD. (Santa Monica, CA: Choice
Publishing, 1997). ♠
27. Wadley, Greg and Martin, Angus. “The Origins of Agriculture—a Biological
Perspective and a New Hypothesis,” Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne.
Published in Australian Biologist 6: 96–105, June 1993. Accessed at ♠
28. “Trends in Intake of Energy and Macronutrients—United States, 1971–2000.” (See
note #1.) ♠
29. Greger, Michael. Atkins Facts. ♠
30. Horne, Ross. Improving on Pritikin: You Can Do Better. (Australia: Happy Landings
Pty. Ltd., 1988). ♠
31. Horne, Ross. Improving on Pritikin: You Can Do Better. (Australia: Happy Landings
Pty. Ltd., 1988). ♠
32. Technically, some form of gluten (a protein) is found in all grains, but “gluten-free”
customarily means free of wheat, barley, or rye. Along with spelt, these are the primary
grains that trigger an autoimmune response in people with gluten intolerance. However,
gluten damages the small intestine in all of us and should be avoided regardless of
whether we experience acute symptoms. ♠
33. Coleman, John. “Opioids In Common Food Products—Addictive Peptides In Meat,
Dairy and Grains.” Accessed at ♠
34. To read more about excitotoxins, see “Not Just Another Scare: Toxin Additives in
Your Food and Drink,” by Russell L. Blaylock, MD. Accessed at ♠
35. I encourage you to print out the excellent list of dozens of disguised names for MSG,
available at the “Say NO to MSG” website:
Or better yet, say NO to all processed foods (anything with a label), and avoid the issue
entirely. ♠
36. “Trends in Intake of Energy and Macronutrients—United States, 1971–2000.” ♠
37. “Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases: Report of a Joint
WHO/FAO Expert Consultation.” World Health Organization Technical Report Series,
No. 916 (2003). See section 5.1, “Population nutrient intake goals for preventing dietrelated
at ♠
38. “Report Offers New Eating and Physical Activity Targets to Reduce Chronic Disease
Risk,” press release dated September 5, 2002 from the National Academies’ Institute of
Medicine. Accessed at www4.national ♠
39. National Research Council. Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition,
at ♠
40. The USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 18 (available at shows the protein content for mature mother’s
milk to be 6.3% of calories, or 1.03% by weight. ♠
41. Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition, pp. 58–59. ♠
42. Campbell, T. Colin. The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss,
and Long-Term Health. (Dallas, TX: BenBella Books, 2004), pp. 30–31. ♠
43. Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition, pp. 70–71. (See note #41.) ♠
44. Campbell, T. Colin. The China Study. (See note #44.) ♠
45. “Trends in Intake of Energy and Macronutrients—United States, 1971–2000.” (See
note #1.) ♠
46. Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition, pp. 70–71. (See note #41.) ♠
47. Campbell, T. Colin. The China Study. (See note #44.) ♠
48. “But How Do You Get Enough Protein?,” Vegetarian Society of Colorado brochure.
Accessed at ♠
49. Millward, D.J. “Optimal Intakes of Protein in the Human Diet.” Proc Nutr Soc. 1999
reqidx=issn=0029-6651vl=58is=2yr=1999mn=Maypg=403. ♠
50. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber,
Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients), p. 422.
at ♠
51. Campbell, T. Colin. The China Study, p. 271. (See note #44.) ♠
52. Erasmus, Udo. Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill. (Burnaby, Canada: Alive Publishing
Group, 1993), p. 162. ♠
53. Pritikin, Robert. The Pritikin Principle: The Calorie Density Solution. (Alexandria,
Va.: Time-Life Books, 2000). ♠
54. Ornish, Dean. Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease. (New
York/Toronto: Random House, 1990), p. 255. ♠
55. Esselstyn, Jr., Caldwell B. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. (New York: Penguin
Books, 2008), p. 77. ♠
56. Barnard, Neal. Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes. (New York:
Rodale, 2007), p. 51. ♠
57. Williams, Clyde and Devlin, John T. (editors). Food, Nutrition and Sports
Performance. (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992). ♠
58. For an overview of the topic of essential fatty acids as they relate to the raw food
diet, see the article “Essential Facts and the Organic Athlete,” by Dr. Rick Dina, at
option=com_content&task=view&id=119&Itemid=63. ♠
59. See ♠
60. “Interim Summary of Conclusions and Dietary Recommendations on Total Fat &
Fatty Acids,” from the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Fats and Fatty Acids in
Human Nutrition, 10-14 November, 2008, WHO, Geneva.
Accessed at ♠
6 1 . Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids,
Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients), p. 423. (See note #53.) ♠
62. Jeff Novick, a superb registered dietitian and former nutrition director at the Pritikin
Longevity Center, states the following on Dr. John McDougall’s online discussion forum
(you can view it at “There is
evidence that the actual minimum requirement [for ALA] may be as low as 0.5 gram a
day … so, in regard to Omega 3s, even the 1.1 to 1.6 may be way more than we really
need.” ♠
63. Nevin KG, Rajamohan T. “Beneficial Effects of Virgin Coconut Oil on Lipid
Parameters and In Vitro LDL Oxidation. Clin Biochem. 2004 Sep;37(9):830-5. For more
information about the fallacy of popular health claims for coconut oil, see also Dr. John
McDougall’s article entitled “ The Newest Food-Cure: Coconut Oil for Health and
at ♠
64. Refer to chapters 2 and 3 of Health and Survival in the 21st Century (see note #17),
which outline clearly the mechanisms by which the human body’s innate intelligence—
given a proper diet and other conditions—naturally and easily maintains homeostasis
without the assistance of any drugs, herbs, “healing” foods, or interventions of any kind.
65. “Trends in Intake of Energy and Macronutrients—United States, 1971–2000.” (See
note #1.) ♠
66. See “Nutrition and Well-Being A to Z” in the Internet FAQ Archives by Thomson
Gale, accessed at (Click “Water.”) This Web
page describes how body-water percentages fluctuate, with men and women hovering
around 62% and 51% water, respectively. Physical activity increases this number as high
as 70%, and overweight reduces it, down to 36% for the morbidly obese. ♠
67. You can buy a bioimpedance-based body-fat monitor built into a bathroom scale,
online or in drugstores, department stores, or sporting goods stores. I have used and
recommended body-fat scales made by the Tanita Corporation for many years. For
information about bioimpedance and other methods of measuring body fat, see the online
article entitled “Understanding Body Fat Analysis,” excerpted from a 1999 Tanita
pamphlet of the same name. Accessed at Click
“Bioelectrical Impedance (BIA).” ♠
68. Volek, JS, Westman, EC. “Very-Low-Carbohydrate Weight-Loss Diets Revisited,”
Cleveland Clinic J. Med. 2002 Nov;69(11), 849-862. Accessed at Low carbohydrate, high-fat dietary programs are
shown to result in weight loss due to appetite-suppressing high blood levels of
hydroxybutyrate (a ketone satiety trigger). ♠
69. The “conventional” body-fat percentage recommendations in this table come from a
chart entitled, “Body Fat Ranges for Standard Adults,” which you can access at, the website of Tanita Corporation of
America, Inc. These numbers are based on NIH/WHO BMI guidelines, as reported by
Gallagher, et. al, at the New York Obesity Research Center. According to the National
Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, an estimated 65% of the U.S. population is
overweight and 30% is obese. Using my body-fat recommendations, these numbers
would dramatically increase, since NHANES defines overweight and obesity as having a
BMI of at least 25% and 30%, respectively. I do not find BMI to be a useful measure,
given that it attempts to suggest an ideal weight based on height alone and does not
distinguish fat and lean mass. Therefore, I cannot provide a recommended number for
comparison with the 25 and 30% guidelines quoted above. ♠
70. Smith, N.J. “Gaining and Losing Weight in Athletics.” JAMA. 1976;236:149–151.
“Muscle mass is increased only through muscle work supported by an appropriate
increase in food intake. No food, vitamin, drug, or hormone will increase muscle mass.”
71. See the article “Cabin Air Quality,” on the Boeing website, accessed at Click “cabin pressure” or “air
quality.” For more information on the significant relationship between altitude and
dehydration see Quinn, Elizabeth, “High Altitude Vacations: How To Prepare,” (2006),
accessed at ♠
72. See the Wikipedia entry for “Dehydration,” accessed through http:// Search “Dehydration,” and click “Symptoms and
Prognosis.” ♠
73. See a Medline Plus discussion of dehydration in the “skin turgor” entry at ♠
74. Tyls, Josef. “Are You Chronically Dehydrated?” Alive (#243) January 2003, Alive
Publishing Group. Accessed at Scroll down to “alive index
search” click on “Health and Disease.” Then scroll down to “Health and Disease
articles,” and click “Are You Chronically Dehydrated?” ♠
75. Rehrer, N.J. “The Maintenance of Fluid Balance during Exercise,” Int. J. Sports Med.
15:122-125, 1994. ♠
76. See ♠
77. See
78. According to the Mayo Clinic, an adult stomach is capable of stretching at the sides
to hold nearly a gallon of food and liquid. (See The Indiana University School of Medicine, however,
reports that the average adult stomach stretches to only about a quarter of its capacity,
(See ♠
79. See ♠
80. In his book, Pain: It’s Not All in Your Head (Trafford Publishing, 2003), physician
assistant and clinical psychologist Jay Tracy explains how deficiencies cause us to crave
the nutrients we lack, and this signal is misinterpreted as hunger and food cravings. See ♠
81. Lucas, F., Sclafani A. “Differential Reinforcing and Satiating Effects of Intragastric
Fat and Carbohydrate Infusions in Rats,” Physiol Behav. 1999 May;66(3):381-8. ♠
82. McArdle, William, Katch, Frank I., et al. Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition and
Human Performance, third edition. Malvern, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (1991).
See chapter 9, “Human Energy Expenditure During Rest and Physical Activity, pp. 159–
161. ♠
83. “The Origins of Agriculture.” (See note #29.) ♠
84. “Bayer AG: A Corporate Profile,” p. 39, by Corporate Watch UK, March 1, 2002.
Accessed at ♠
85. A good layman’s article on the subject of acrylamide is “Acrylamide Angst: Another
Annoying Distraction About Food Safety,” by Dr. Allan S. Felsot, an environmental
toxicologist at Washington State University. Published in the October 2002 issue of
Agrichemical and Environmental News, the article is available online at You can learn more about the connection
at ♠
86. “Food Nutrition: Better Guidance Needed to Improve Reliability of USDA’s Food
Composition Data.” GAO report #RCED-94-30, October 25, 1993. Accessed at ♠
87. Some of the information in this sidebar comes from various USDA Web pages
accessed through, pages that document the National
Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, or from the USDA publication, “Composition
at For a full description of
Atwater’s work, see Agriculture Handbook 74 (Merrill and Watt, 1973. Energy Value of
Foods…Basis and Derivation). U.S. Government Printing Office. Washington, DC. 105p.
This reference is out of print, but a scanned copy is viewable at ♠
Table of Contents
A Tribute to T.C. Fry
Chapter 1. Determining Our True Dietary Nature
Chapter 2. Meeting Fruit Concerns Head-On
Chapter 3. Raw Food for Ultimate Health
Chapter 4. Understanding the Caloronutrient Ratio
Chapter 5. Carbohydrate: 80% Minimum
Chapter 6. Protein: 10% Maximum
Chapter 7. Fat: 10% Maximum
Chapter 8. The Big Surprise: Raw Fooders Average 60%+ Fat!
Chapter 9. Stabilizing Body Weight
Chapter 10. Overcoming the Challenges of Going Raw
Chapter 11. 80/10/10 in Practice
Appendix A. Sample Menu Plans
Appendix B. Frequently Asked Questions
Appendix C. Personal Success Stories with 80/10/10
Appendix D. Resources for Diet Analysis
About the Author